How the team felt after the north London derby loss (Tottenham Vs Arsenal).
“It was tough, obviously they know what it means to everybody in that type of games. They felt disappointed because the way the game went, they feel that they deserved much more but as well the reflection of the game is that we lost it basically. But they are ready, they know the games are coming up in the next few days are massive for us and the future of next season as well and they are willing to try again and put in the same effort and commitment.”
Arsenal played Tottenham last weekend and lost away by 2 goals to 1. The manager has put that to bed considering the other decisive but difficult games ahead against Liverpool today at 9:15pm.
Will the FA Cup semi-final influence his team selection for Liverpool?
“We have to go game by game, today we will know more as well about how the players have recovered. Obviously some players have had huge demands since we rejoined the season and have played a lot of minutes, and you can see that recovery-wise with the schedule that we have been given by the Premier League, to play every two and a half days, but we will assess them today and tomorrow and put the players on the pitch who are in the best possible condition to compete and try to win the game again” He said.
He had this to say about the defensive weaknesses
“It is a collective game, but within that there are a lot of individual games that happen and a lot of sequencing throughout the 95 minutes that we play. Individual errors are part of football, you can make them and they can go unnoticed if something doesn’t happen, and obviously those resulting in a goal the highlight goes there. I am not concerned about that, that is something we will sort. Obviously short term it is more difficult to do it, what happens after you make an individual error, how you react to that, how you keep trying and your mindset to keep continuing the game to try to put that one back and try to resolve the situation and win it.
It is not just the player who makes the individual error, but the rest have to react to try to help the player who has done it. But yes, we got punished big time the other day with that and we have to learn – and you know that teams are expecting that sometimes as well, and we cannot give them anything.”
Should fans expect good possession in the north London derby.
Arteta said “I am not too concerned about the possession, it’s about how we attack the opponent’s box, how we generate situations to score goals, the dominance, how quickly we regain the ball, how close we do that to the opponent’s goal. It tells you how far we’ve come to be able to do that in an away ground against one of our biggest rivals. It shows the personality and what the team wants to do and it’s going to be a big part of our identity. But we are going to finish that having produced the three points and had the security that we can control and dominate games against any opponent.”
Arsenal will be playing Manchester city on Saturday for place at the final of the FA Cup. Finishing top in the league is completely out of reach but whether he will rest players against Liverpool so they’re ready for Manchester City, he responded that…
“I believe that it’s very important to have energy and momentum going into important matches, and in order to do that you have to go game by game. Today and tomorrow we will assess the players and how they are, and obviously they’ve been hit and a lot of them have played some crazy minutes up until now and again we’re going to have games every two and a half days. We will try to put the strongest team out as possible here and as well on Saturday, and to do that we need to know how everyone recovers from the game.
Do you expect today’s game to be a 0-0…
“Well, I don’t know what kind of game it will be! Obviously when you look at the front players that you just mentioned, goals are there. But football is so unpredictable. Let’s see. We will try to keep it nil on our side and try to score as many as we can. That’s all we can do.”
As regards whether Mesut Ozil will play again this season, he said…
“With Mesut the situation is still the same as it was.”
Can Arsenal mirror Liverpool and challenge for a title in four years from now?
“I don’t want to talk about four years in football. It’s almost impossible. You have to see a trend and you have to see movement and you have to see that the direction that you are taking is the right one and that you are making progress all the time. At the end of the season we are going to have to assess where we are in all terms of the club, what is the ambition and where we want to head in. In order to do that, either the ambition and the level is equal or it’s not realistic or it’s more than realistic. That’s what we have to get a deal on.”
How different is it without fans in stadiums?
“A different game, I will say it like this. The crowd affects many situations, the crowd doesn’t allow the team that is playing at home to have certain behaviours during the game because it is asking all the time, demanding the home team to act in a certain way, it puts pressure on players when they have the ball and when they don’t have the ball and as well it gives a different energy to the whole game. The passion, the moments before the game when you are in the warm up, is a completely different game and hopefully we can have [the fans] back with a very safe environment for them. I understand it is going to be a very slow process for them, but hopefully we will get there.”