Arsenal boss Arteta drops big hint over Jurrien Timber

Mikel Arteta has been speaking ahead of Arsenal's crunch clash with Bournemouth on Saturday lunchtime

Arsenal boss Arteta drops big hint over Jurrien Timber

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has dropped a huge hint about the return of Jurrien Timber to first team action

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been speaking about Jurrien Timber ahead of the Gunners crucial clash with Bournemouth at the Emirates on Saturday lunchtime. 

Read on for waht he had to say about the former Ajax defender as well as plenty of other topics with every word from his Friday press conference at London Colney

on the latest team news:Yes, everybody is fit and available so now it’s a headache to make the right selection. Good headache.

on playing first on Saturday:It’s what it is. We played in many different scenarios this season and our job is clear. We have to win our game and wait. The only thing we can focus on is that.

on Jorginho:I would love to keep him. He knows that. The club is fully supportive of that. He’s a really important player with us on and off the field and he makes us better so I want him to stay.

on scoring 16 goals from corners this season:It’s a combination of a lot of things. We work in a lot of phases of play and things that, in our opinion, can help us to be more competitive to win matches. Certainly, set-pieces are something fundamental in football.

on Rice coming second in the Football Writer Awards:He’s been great. He’s had such an impact from day one. It’s not easy when you come from a club that you’ve been at for a long time, but he settled really good. It’s a great group and I think they’ve been really supportive with him as well. There are players that just come in and glide and become part of it straight away. I remember a conversation I had with him when we were still in the US in pre-season and he was [with us for] eight, nine days, and he said ‘it feels like I’ve been here for two years.’ That’s a good sign.

on if he will watch Manchester City tomorrow:If I can watch them, I love watching great games and there is a lot at stake. Let’s go, we have to go first.

on the job Andoni Iraola has done at Bournemouth:Fantastic job. To come into the Premier League and do what he’s done, huge credit to him, the coaching staff and the players obviously. They had a difficult start, they kept going with what they believed in and huge credit to him. It’s unbelievable what they’ve done in the manner that they’ve done it as well which is, in my opinion, very important as well. Congratulations because it’s a fantastic achievement.

on Reiss Nelson’s 97th minute winner against Bournemouth last season:I had a great memory because the game ended in a really beautiful way and it was one of the highlights of the season, so we know we’re going to have to earn it tomorrow again. It’s going to be a really tough match but the team is ready.

on the importance of that never-say-die attitude at this stage of the season:At any stage, but now obviously with what is there to win, we know that we’re going to have to win games in different ways and that can be one. Hopefully tomorrow it’s not that but if it has to be to win it, welcome.

on how much the players are enjoying the run-in:Yes, the energy is really good. We just had a training session and again it was fantastic. They’re really at it, they’re really enthusiastic and we’re going to give it a real go.

on reaching 100 Premier League wins as the youngest manager to have achieved that:That’s a contribution from a lot of people that in this journey have been extremely supportive and obviously it helps you to win games, so gratitude towards that and it’s just hopefully the beginning of something much bigger that can bring trophies. This is what we want.

on the changes he has noticed in the group this season:Some of them are noticeable but some are as well related to what is happening in games. It is different what is happening. Last year at Spurs as well we had a very different game to the one we had in previous years or against any other rivals, but we managed the situation quite well. It could’ve been better and there’s room for improvement but I think the team is more mature. Obviously the health and condition of the squad is in a much better place right now and all these factors I think contribute to being in a better position.

on how coachable Rice has been:Yes, that’s the right word. He’s really enthusiastic, eyes open, ears open, very willing to learn and take information. On top of that as well, you need to absorb an enormous amount of responsibility and expectations and that’s a difficult back sometimes to carry. He’s done it in a really composed and calm way and that’s very impressive because he’s still a really young player.

on if he needs to score more goals:I think there is much more there. We have to put it him more situations for him to explore that talent he has. He needs to recognise as well certain situations earlier in order to build that relationship and chemistry within the unit that he’s playing with, something that is still quite raw, especially with the amount of changes that we made on that left side this season. All this is going to contribute to his development and hopefully we can see much more.

on how we’d have done if Partey and Timber had played more this season:Do you have a coin? Ping! I have no clue. We have missed them, because when you have them around the team is more competitive, there’s more quality there, more leadership there, that’s for sure. To be honest as well, the players that have played in their position have been exceptional so let’s see. Now probably your question in three or six months time when they have played hopefully a lot of games, I can be more concrete.

on seizing the moment with three games to go:Absolutely. Just focus and put all your energy in finding that determination and willingness to do our best to earn the right to win games. The first one is Bournemouth, it’s at home, it’s going to be an unbelievable atmosphere again towards the game. Be present and be in the moment and let’s see what happens.

on how Bournemouth can change so much under Iraola since he took over:Especially after our game, they had a really difficult start in terms of fixtures as well and that was a huge factor, but you could see that the team was always close to getting a result and creating a lot of problems for the opponent. Credit to him, he has stuck with his beliefs, he’s a really good coach, a great person and I’ve known him since we were very little and I wish him all the best.

on if he spoke to Iraola during their difficult start to the season:No, we spoke after our game. When you’re in those periods, sometimes you want to speak to nobody! But we had a little conversation there about my experiences and what I’ve been through and sometimes that helps.

on treating Bournemouth with the same respect that we did Tottenham:The first thing that we did was try to read where the spirit was and the energy, and they were talking about it already, almost as if it's going to be even more important, now we have momentum, now we have to keep going. They know what is at stake. 

on hoping for a more boring game than the 3-2 last season:I have a different game in my head for tomorrow but we are going to have to perform really well tomorrow and be our best. If we do that, we have a really good chance of winning the game. 

on the lift to the squad to have Timber back:It does because it increases the quality of the training sessions. You see how commanding he is, his leadership and his quality, and the rest have to lift it up. They start to demand more from each other and they look at each other and say: ‘I better be good because I want to keep playing.’ These are very positive for the squad.

on where Timber will be ready to make an impact:We’re not going to know until we throw him in. It’s tricky because it's only three games to go and he’s missed eight months of football. He’s played only 50 minutes of football with the under-21s, so it's a question that has to be resolved only by throwing him on the pitch and seeing what happens. We have to try to nail that decision.

on whether David Raya’s loan will be made permanent:Those conversations are for after the season. We will review where we are and obviously we are really happy with David and everything he has brought to the club and the team. There's no question about it but all those decisions have to be made between all of us at the club and we will see.

on Martin Odegaard’s off-the-pitch qualities:I’ve said many times he’s a great character, a great person to have around. I think he represents the values of our club in the best way and he keeps maturing. He’s going to have some personal experiences in the next month that I think are going to be very good for his progression as well as a person, and we are here to help him.

on the areas Martin has improved most in:When you mature, you mature in everything personally and professionally. His role in the team is very different to the one he had when he joined us on loan. He’s our captain now and has been for a while and he’s a really respected player that keeps performing in a way that not many can do at this level.

on what he can still improve:We don’t know what level they can reach at the end and that’s why we try to broaden them. My job is to give players the right foundations so they can grow and then create an environment to inspire and support them so they can feel that they have the wings to fly whatever they want. This is what I have to do  - give them the foundations that they can always get better and that the limit is put in relation to where they look at it, and Martin is certainly very ambitious.

on Martin’s relationship with Bukayo Saka:That's when you build the chemistry. Off the field that is already very strong, and when you take that to the field, when you add minutes and training sessions and good level of communication between them, those are very good ingredients to improve, keep developing and keep understanding each other better. That certainly happens and it’s the same with Ben because they have played on that side for a long time now so it's quite solid at the moment.

on what Odegaard, Saka and White are like off the pitch:They're very close, they spend a lot of time together off the field as well and that's something really important. You can tell in the way they communicate and the way they look at each other that there is something special.

on whether Timber will be playing for the under-21s again:He won't be playing the game tonight.

on whether the less frantic nature of our games has benefited us this season:The probability of winning matches when you leave it so late is less and we've been better this season at deciding matches much earlier. That's a good sign for the team that can dominate and control the games and decide games earlier, and hopefully we can do the same in the remaining fixtures. 

on whether emotionally the lack of those games has helped:When you play every three days with the stress and the physical and mental demands you put into the later stage of matches, there is an accumulation there. You see the teams that normally get to the latter stages and how dominant they are in the league when they win the matches and the subs that they make, that's something that is pretty relevant.

on reports the club will listen to offers for Gabriel Jesus.I don’t know where this is coming from.

on whether he chats to Pep Guardiola during the run-in:It doesn’t work like that! We don't have an agreement, it is just in a natural way and if something happens we communicate with each other when it is necessary and when we play against each other as well, but we all understand the situation and the moments to talk and be yourself.

on whether the 12.30pm Saturday kick-off slot should be removed:We probably discussed that slot relating more after Champions League fixtures and then the recovery time. I think that slot is a slot within the culture of this country and the Premier League and it's important to have it. I think there are other big issues in my opinion.

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