February 24, 2024

In the second half of his pre-Newcastle press conference.

Mikel Arteta was asked about Eddie Howe’s work at Newcastle, the impact of Takehiro Tomiyasu, why substitutes are contributing more goals and how his side can deal with the time-wasting tactics of his opponents.

Here’s what he had to say…

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On whether Newcastle are title contenders…

I think it’s too early for anybody [to decide] whether we are or are not. We are still really early in the season. They gave signs last season and this season, and in Europe, that they can compete with any other team. So when a team is able to do that, they are for me.

On Newcastle’s resources making it inevitable that they will challenge in the future…

Yeah, but I think we all have resources and when you look at the teams around, everybody has it. After, it’s how you make those resources, use them in the best possible way and then there are many factors that are going to contribute to the success or not success of your season. Some of them you cannot control even though you have tried to make all the right decisions.

On the job done by Eddie Howe…

Taking away the resources or not, the job he’s done is remarkable. You should not take any merit of what he’s done because it’s very impressive.

On the key factor to a young manager having success…

Have the best players. If you have the best players, it gives you the best chance and then you create an incredible environment around them. After, there are many factors, but having the best players for 10 months, available, with good spirit and a lot of confidence, that gives you a big chance.

On what he’s made of Tomiyasu’s performances…

It’s what we expect from him, the moment he has some stability and his availability is high, he’s a player that is going to give so much to the team, he’s got different qualities to any other player and I’m really pleased with him.

On why so many players are happy to commit to new contracts at Arsenal…

It’s probably a question more for them. Hopefully, my feeling is because they are in a place that first of all, they feel valued, they enjoy what they do, they enjoy working with us and they still feel really challenged in a very competitive environment and that this is the place for them to grow and win trophies.

On goals being scored by substitutes this season…

I think there are two main factors. One is when we went from three to five subs. Obviously, that gives managers a lot of ability to change the course of the game. And then the extended time that we are playing now, the 100 minutes, over 100 minutes that we are playing. When you are getting subs on in the 70th minute, you’re almost playing half an hour and that’s a lot, it’s one-third of the game. And then the players understand the importance of that role. If we want to be there [at the top], we’re going to need everybody at their best to try to change games, to try to load games, to try to rotate the team and have the freshness in every department. They’ve been brilliant at that.

On time-wasting in last season’s game at the Emirates and whether Arsenal have the tools to beat Newcastle this time…

Game management is a big thing in football and expecting what the opponent can do and dealing with that emotionally to stay in the mindset and the frame that you have to be, it’s key. Tomorrow there will be factors that can get you out of that and it’s very important to control them.

On Arsenal’s impressive defensive record going under the radar…

I think it’s a key thing to success. If you can clean sheets in this league, in any league, to win a championship, to be at the top, you have to do that. And you have to do that in a really consistent way, you have to do that as well, especially in big matches. That’s the task and I think we’re in the right direction.

On whether Ben White’s England stand-off needs sorting…

I don’t know, that’s not something for me to get involved in.

On whether White needs to play for England…

Does he have the ability? Yes. And then it’s a conversation for them to have.

On whether he’s involved in those conversations…

No. What I want is a player who feels happy and a player who represents his club and his country in the best possible way.

On dealing with time-wasting tactics…

We are so used to a lot of things that we as well do. You know that every team tries to use their tactics and manage the game in the right way for themselves. It’s not something new. We try to get better at everything for sure and tomorrow this will be something very minimal within the course of the game I think.

On whether Arsenal have practised in Friday’s session anything to keep the game sped up…

If we have to practise something today for tomorrow, I think we are late!

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