Arteta’s press conference: what was said? (055)

Arsenal travel to St James’ Park on Sunday to face a Newcastle side with eight wins and 26 goals scored in their last nine games, however after a horrible April, the Gunners got back to winning ways against Chelsea on Wednesday.

Ahead of the game, we looked at the key quotes from Mikel Arteta’s pre match press conference. 

One of the biggest questions for Arteta was that of Gabriel’s availability, after he limped off against Chelsea on the 85 minute mark, however reports from Kaya Kaynak suggested he would play, and he is the only fresh potential doubt for the game.

Arteta however was typically vague: “We will have to see tomorrow how he is, but yeah he could not finish the game so that was a big sign for us. We’ll have to see how he is tomorrow.”

He was more firm on Saliba, delivering the news we expected: “Not a lot of progress. He’s feeling better every day but he’s not been able to have any activity around the first team so we don’t expect him to be with us.”

On a positive note, Arteta said he is still hopeful that he will play again this season, and right now it is about respecting the healing process, saying that “pain-wise and the things he can do now off the pitch he’s in a good place. But we have to build that capacity to have the right impact, the right load and to be in good condition to play for the team.”

After the disappointment against City, Arsenal bounced back against Chelsea, however Arteta said that response started long before the game: “We showed a great response in the week, but the most important thing was to put it on the pitch. We showed good determination and desire to win the game. It was a big game for us, a London derby and we did that and we earned the right to win the game.”

Taking that confidence and preparation into Newcastle will be crucial for Arsenal, with many pointing to last year’s performance, but Arteta rubbished that idea: “It’s a very different game. Different players, different game. We’re gonna have to play better than last year, that’s for sure because we know at home they’ve been really good.”

While rubbishing comparisons from last season, Arteta clearly still has frustrations from when the sides met at The Emirates in January saying: “Certainly that was a game I think we deserved to win. We didn’t at the end. They are a really good side, they are well coached, they have good players, they have a good environment around the place so they are in a good place.

“We tried to play the game that we wanted and they wanted a very different game for sure. When we played at the Emirates I think we deserved to win that game. There are things that will be different playing back [at St. James Park] and we’ll have to be better to win it.”

As as expected with those comments, he wrote off any suggestion that the defeat at St James’ last year would be a motivator for the players, saying: “I don’t think there’s too much to motivate from there. There’s a lot of things that we have to do better than that day. The group of players and the way they’re playing there is different.”

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