Arsenal vs Brighton: Arteta’s press conference (060)

Ahead of Arsenal’s meeting with Brighton on Sunday, we took a look at what Mikel Arteta had to say in his pre match press confernece.

It was no surprise that the first question was around William Saliba and Alex Zinchenko following David Ornstein’s hammer blow yesterday, however the manager wasn’t completely downbeat, saying: “We have another session tomorrow before the Brighton game, and we are trying to get players back for that. Today we haven’t trained on the pitch, so we’ll know more tomorrow.

“With William, it’s for sure that he’s not going to be fit for this game and we are doubting whether he will be fit for the next game as well. But we want to keep the hope going and make sure that we give ourselves the best chance of having them back.”

He did, however refuse to be drawn into confirming whether Kieran Tierney would start, giving a typically cryptic answer: “There are opportunities for everybody. In every game they have to show that they are up to it and then that we make the right or the wrong decision with the line-up, giving the players the minutes that they deserve.

“It’s very difficult with players in this sport because you pick 11 to play and some to be sub and it’s not always right. You do it all the time with your best intention.”

The suspected blow to Zinchenko is a blow for Arsenal, however they do have the options in reserve who can step up, and Arteta’s reaction when question on Jakob Kiwior showed he has trust in his squad players: “He’s been really impressive, really composed, really calm. He’s been brilliant against two very difficult opponents, with a lot of individual talents. He’s defended many situations and dealt with them in a great way.”

Away from injuries, and Arteta was razor focused on the task at hand and was very complimentary of Brighton and their style of play under De Zerbi this season: “For sure, and because they are a really [complete] side. The way they are playing under Roberto and the coaching staff is remarkable, it’s just a joy to watch them play.

“He’s brought a different idea to the league and that’s a different challenge for managers as well. This is what you want. We want to be the best league in the world and we need the best managers and the best players. What he’s done with the team, after all the foundations that Graham Potter left at the club, is incredible. It’s [going to be] a very tough match.”

Whilst being fully aware of the threat Brighton pose, Arteta did talk about the optimism that Sunday’s win at Newcastle has created, which you hope will be passed onto the team for this crucial tie: “Every time you win, every time you play well, every time you feel like you’re competing at a level that is required to win this league, it gives you hope. It’s not in our hands and on Sunday we’re certainly going to need to be at our best again and try to win the game. If we win the game, we will be a little bit closer.”

Arteta also confirmed that Aaron Ramsdale has been offered a new deal, but said they had nothing to announce yet, and shrugged off runours that Granit Xhaka could be on the move by saying: “I am not going to be replying to certain stories but I am extremely happy with Granit. I think he is having an incredible season, probably the best he is having at the club and we are really happy to have him.”

Alongside this, he hinted at new contracts for a number of players, and his belief that it was done in a way that allowed players to remain focused on the pitch: “Where we are with each individual is different in terms of timing, but the clarity is there. We have communicated with each of them what the intentions are and we are trying to get that done as quickly as possible, but without losing any focus.”

Written by: Adam Keys (adamkeys_)

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