Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta opens up on Arsene Wenger's visit after Gunners sweep aside West Ham

Read what Gunners boss Mikel Arteta had to say about Arsene Wenger as well as his take on Arsenal's imperious 3-1 victory over West Ham

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta opens up on Arsene Wenger's visit after Gunners sweep aside West Ham


Mikel Arteta spoke moving about Arsene Wenger on an emotional evening at the Emirates.

While the table-topping Gunners came from behind to sweep away West Ham on Boxing Day evening in North London boss Arteta was all smiles after his side went seven points clear at the top.

The win ensured Arsenal made it 40 points from a possible 45 as the Premier League returned to North London.

After the final whistle Areta faced the media and was asked about the win, Arsène Wenger’s presence, Eddie Nketiah and transfer rumours.

Read on for a full transcript…

on the character we showed to come back from a goal down…

Yeah, for sure - really happy with their performance first of all, and then the results. And really the context of the game was that they were a goal up after a situation, a very single situation that they had attacked an open space where the referee decided to award their pen. And then you see the reaction of this crowd generating belief and just giving a lot of energy to the team. And the team showed, I think, in my opinion, a lot of composure, some real quality, as well as a lot of clarity to understand what the game demanded, and they executed really well.

on what tonight’s game will do for Nketiah’s confidence…

He is a really confident boy, but hopefully, it can give him more confidence about what he's capable of doing, if he had any doubts. I think his performance was really, really good, and on top of that, he scores a great goal. He needed it. Every striker needs a goal, but as well, for Eddie, and for the team, I think it is really important

on Arsene Wenger being in the crowd tonight…

The players didn't know and we wanted to keep it quiet and allow that space for Arsene here. And it was a really special day - thank you so much to him for coming. Hopefully, walking through the building, he's going to feel everything that everybody thinks of him, everything that he left here. His presence is something that has to be very attached to this football club. So thank you for doing that because it means a lot to everybody in the club. I'm gonna go now to speak to him - hopefully he'll be waiting for us in the dressing room.

on putting on a show for Wenger on his return…

Obviously, it's great and winning means my mood is going to be much better to speak to him and be around the team. So yeah, he picked the right moment. A really special day, because Boxing Day is a beautiful day to play football. And I thought the performance was at the level today that he deserves, and hopefully he will like.

on whether he was involved in the process…

I've been involved in the process, but it's about him, the timing that he needed to make that step and hopefully, he's going to live here and be willing to spend more time with us and be around us because he's such an influence. For me personally - my career and the way I see the game - but as well for this football club.

on whether he thinks that was the kind of performance title-winning teams produce…

I don't know. Obviously, we overcame a challenge and a difficult moment on top of the injuries that we had with Gabby, with Emile, with Reiss, with Tomiyasu. The team still believes and played to the level that they needed. 

n whether he’s allowing our players to dream about the title…

They are allowed to do everything they want! What I tell them is that we have to focus on us, we cannot control what the opponents are going to do, how good they're going to become, or how many points they're going to earn or drop. So, we have to focus on our performance, on what we do every day and what has brought us here, which is not a coincidence, so we just need to keep doing what we're doing.

On whether there’s any truth to our links to Shakhtar Donetsk’s Mudryk…

You know that I never speak to other players that are not with us. And it might be that you have to ask me the question but we said that we will try to find ways to strengthen the team. We will find the right players and that's all I can say.

On Mudryk posting that he was watching the game…

It's a good thing for England that you don't have many other matches in other countries. We are the only ones playing through Christmas so hopefully, a lot of people watched our game and we gave them a good show

On whether Arsenal is a place that young players aspire to play at considering the wealth of our young talent…

Hopefully, yes but they earned the right. It's not something that we have given them. They have earned the right to be part of us and be really, really important in the team, and in the squad and then, and hopefully we'll have more.

On what he made of Odegaard’s performance tonight…

A top performance. And you will look at everything that he did with the ball, as well as what he did without the ball. The way he guided the team in many moments, the presence that he had in in the way we play today. He had a real impact on that. 

 


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