Ahead of Arsenal’s meeting with Wolves on Sunday, we took a look at what Mikel Arteta had to say in his pre match press conference.
Following the defeat at Nottingham Forest, the Arsenal players and Mikel Arteta will want to finish the season on a high, and give the fans a positive feeling going into the summer.
With the announcement of Bukayo Saka’s new contract earlier in the week, the mood around the club has been upbeat, however Arteta suggested that he has been carrying a knock: “We’ve had some issues this week, well, in the last few weeks. As you’ve noticed, some players were unable to play and to participate in the games, like Reiss. We have a little issue with Bukayo, which has been going on, and with Leo.”
The update is perhaps an indication of why the attacking performance was so weak last week, despite us controlling 82% of the possession and playing over 700 passes, only to muster three shots on target.
However, Arteta did deliver more positive news elsewhere: “The rest I think are going to be fine. Alex [Zinchenko] is still out. William is still out. Tomiyasu is still out. Elneny is still out. There are a few that are not available but the rest are all good.”
None of those absentees will come to a shock for fans, however Arteta was buoyant on the recoveries of both Saliba and Tomiyasu: “I think he’s [Saliba] evolving in the right way. In the last few weeks, his progress has been much more positive than in the previous two months.
“We wanted to protect him; it’s an injury that needs some care and attention. We’ve been pretty conservative to give him the best possible chance to have a good pre-season and go again in the next season.”
With Tomiyasu he was much more definitive: “I think he’s really close.“Hopefully, he will be around for pre-season like Willy [Saliba]. They have been working so hard and it’s been a really difficult year for him with some of the issues he’s had.
“He’s a tremendous person and a top professional and we just want him to be available because when he’s available he’s really helpful for the team.”
With the season drawing to a close and the title race all but ending a week ago, transfer speculation has gone into overdrive.
One player who looks close to leaving Arsenal is Granit Xhaka, with Sunday expected to be his last game for the club, however Arteta refused to be drawn on speculation: “I cannot talk and I won’t talk about any future of any players or members of staff. We have to wrap up the season, do what we have to do and then we still start to plan the following season.”
All in all, this presser was exactly what you’d expect from Arteta, with the usual level of focus and determination, despite the game having little to no consequences.
But, let’s hope the players deliver a repeat of last season’s final game, and welcome the new kit with a breathtaking victory!
Written by: Adam Keys (adamkeys_)