Every word Mikel Arteta said on Xhaka, Ramsdale being No. 1, Aubameyang, Lacazette and Tottenham – Football.London

What’s the team news for Sunday’s game?

Hopefully everybody is available so good news. We have one more session before the game but in general everybody is feeling good.

How has your team prepared mentally for this fixture because it’s a big game than your previous two with all due respect to Norwich and Burnley?

Well, it’s the most special game of the season at home that’s for sure. It’s a London derby. Emotionally it’s a different one to play and we know how much it means for our supporters as well.

This will be your first North London Derby in front of fans at the Emirates. How special will that be for you and do you think it adds any extra pressure?

To be fair, I can’t wait to have that experience. Even right now, after such a long time without them, I have experienced some London derbies but without supporters and I am saying supporters because I think that is the word to describe the people who are behind our football club.

What they have done in the last few weeks has been pretty special, they only want what is best for the club and it is very different to just being a fan. A fan and a supporter behave in different ways and what we have experienced in the past two games is pretty unique and is related to our history, its people who respect and want to promote the values that have been instilled in this club by many people who have been in charge here.

It is just a privilege to see how they are able to understand, the intelligence they have shown because it comes from the knowledge that they know about our history, they know what we want to do, what we want to achieve and they are fully behind the team.

It’s good to go into this game with the momentum you have but do you feel form goes out the window for a derby?

There is a certain level of confidence when you are on a winning streak that it’s really positive to face a big match. But afterwards when the ball is rolling it’s a completely different context. We’re playing at home, we’re going to have our people right behind us. They’re going to create an incredible climate that you have to be able to enjoy, empower and make the most of it.

Alexandre Lacazette has scored in three of the last four North London Derbies. What are his chances of coming into the side?

Everybody has a chance. Obviously we’re not going to tell you what we are going to do in terms of the line up. There are a few positions where we are addressing and try to make the right decision

You’ve played Aaron Ramsdale in the last two games in the Premier League but you’ve said you’re going to pick goalkeepers game by game. It’s pointing towards him being your number one.

Well done for trying. You will see the line up on Sunday. As you understand I cannot give anything away.



MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28: (L-R) Aaron Ramsdale and Bernd Leno of Arsenal before the Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal at Etihad Stadium on August 28, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Aaron Ramsdale and Bernd Leno

If you start Ramsdale in such a big game can we assume he’s your number one?

It’s one more game, a really important game. But we are in September so still eight or nine months to go in the competition.

How much does this game mean to the players? Are they aware of what is at stake when Arsenal play Spurs?

They do and I will make sure that they understand what it means. The history between the two clubs and where this rivalry comes from and what it means emotionally to all of our supporters. You have to play that game with slightly different skin because there is a little bit more at stake.

Spurs come into this off the back of two defeats. Is there ever a good time to play them in the North London Derby?

As I mentioned when the ball is rolling, I think we all forget where we are. We are just trying to compete to win that football match. It won’t be any different for them. They are still going to try to win regardless because they have the necessity. We have the necessity, we want to pick up the points, we know what it means this game, so I’m sure we’re going to try our best.

Harry Kane has been playing slightly deeper recently. Does that make it easier to defend him?

I think he’s played in that role for a while. If you look at the numbers and the assists that he’s able to create and the goals that he’s scoring he’s always on the top of the table so I don’t think that changes a lot..

Are Granit Xhaka both 100% ready to start this game if they’re called upon?

Well, they are in the best possible state that they can be. They had both different issues in the last few weeks, Thomas with a big injury and Granit with a suspension. Ideally you want players with more of a run of games and a bit more consistency in terms of minutes, but they are both available.

How is Granit doing since the suspension and the COVID he had?

He came back and he was flying because he really looks after himself. He’s always training. As he always is he was giving the maximum and the best possible attitude to compete and win matches.



Granit Xhaka during an Arsenal training session at London Colney. (Image: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Granit Xhaka during an Arsenal training session at London Colney. (Image: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Takehiro Tomiyasu has been pretty impressive and was a player Spurs were interested in signing in the summer. What have you made of him so far?

Well, I’m impressed more than the performances, as well the way he has settled, the way he has gained everybody’s appreciation and the way he is. He had no time to prepare ahead of Norwich and then a proper traditional Premier League game against Burnley where I think he was exceptional. He had to go through some difficult moments because they really test you and I think he did that with pride and the way he is – always fully committed and focused.

Arsenal have always had a reputation as an injury hit team. What’s happened? This must be a first that you’ve got no injuries going into the match on Sunday.

That’s good. Let’s continue like this

Is there a reason?

Look at this weather. Everything helps. Good energy, a couple of wins, everybody wants to be involved and we have fantastic physios, sports science and medical department and they try to look after themselves in the best possible way.

Do you think winning on Sunday will make the fans really buy into the project that you want to do?

Well, it will give them another reason to do it. I think they have already done. They have shown that without getting the best results and that’s something exceptional and remarkable. That’s what I meant by the word that they are supporters which is very different. That’s why we want to give something that they can really enjoy and get even closer to our team.

Have you picked your starting XI already?

I have an idea yes.

Did you watch Spurs vs Chelsea and what did you make of how Chelsea used N’Golo Kante. Will that have any effect on how you play on Sunday?

Well, we don’t have N’Golo so we cannot use him. So it’s difficult to compare. I think it was two very different halves, it was a really competitive game that was decided in small details. Set pieces took a big part of that in two of the three goals and it was a good game to watch.

Will you speak to your defenders on how to play Harry Kane, particularly Ben White?

Obviously, we have to show them the threat and the qualities and where they will try to hurt us and try to prepare that as much as possible. We know that he’s a big threat and a lot of things come from his contributions in attack.

In the space of two weeks things have turned around so that you might even be favourites to win this game on Sunday?

That’s the beauty of this sport. It changes one from one week to the other very quickly. You have to be able to see things with perspective, don’t lose the focus and try to adapt and get the best out of you every single game because the dynamics can change very soon before you know it. We are in a very good place to face Spurs on Sunday, but that’s it. After we have to show on the pitch what we can do.



Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta gestures from the side-lines during the English League Cup third round football match between Arsenal and AFC Wimbledon at the Emirates Stadium in London on September 22, 2021. – – RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

How do you keep your players from getting too up when they win three in a row and too down when they lose three in a row?

Telling them the truth and looking at the reality and trying to change the things that we can improve. As well showing the things that we do really well and trying to find an understanding of why sometimes performances don’t follow results or they do. If that’s the case then it’s a bigger change that is needed.

Normally one of Tottenham or Arsenal are in the top six. Does it show how far both clubs have to go that this isn’t a game that will affect top four or top six in the table at the moment?

It can do. Or it can show you how far this league has gone. Comparing to three or five years ago this is a different planet now. This Premier League has never been as strong as this. It’s the strongest league in the world in history in my opinion because of the quality of the teams and the evolving of the organisation, how the league has developed. The quality of the coaches, the managers that are joining this league, it has never been that strong.

How much stronger is it than when you played and how would you cope?

Much stronger. I wouldn’t be able to play at this level. Much stronger.

What are your views on safe standing and maybe fans being allowed to have drinks of alcohol at their seats?

I think any regulation that creates an atmosphere in the stadium that is safe for everyone can be encouraged. We have authorities and we have processes that they have to determine that much better than us because obviously we don’t see a lot of things that are happening in the background. So if it’s safe and encourages us to enjoy the atmosphere in a different way and we all agree with it I think it can be discussed.

Last time you played Tottenham at home Aubameyang was dropped. Is that all behind him now and how has been since then?

Well, that was just an incident that I had to make a decision and I did on the day. Now I think Auba is in a different position. That doesn’t mean he was in a bad position at the time. It was just an incident that we as a team have some ways of living together. It wasn’t the case so we made a decision. And now I think now he’s been in really good form. I think the way he played at Burnley, even if he didn’t score a goal, it was extraordinary the way he played for the team. So we are expecting him to do the same.

Is his scoring a concern because he’s not quite getting the same number of goals as in seasons before?

He will. He’s generated the chances. We have to generate more and we have to put him through in more occasions because we know how he’s going to end up. He’s in good form.

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Is this the sort of big game that he should thrive in where you can look to him to score goals and launch his season?

You need a special moments and details a lot of times decide these type of fixtures. Big players they do it normally. When they step in and they are able to do that for the team, normally the outcome becomes really positive.

Will you have to sell Lacazette if he doesn’t sign a new deal?

We discuss that internally, we discuss that with him. It’s a long season ahead of us anything can happen everything is open. He just needs to focus on performing and contributing to the team like he always does. He’s a phenomenal character, he’s somebody that’s always pushing and he has a real interest to help the team. That’s not going to change. After we will see what happens.

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