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Mikel Arteta gives pre-Newcastle United press conference – Denies going on the defensive

9 months ago
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Mikel Arteta has been in the Arsenal job for exactly eight weeks.

The club where he had a very good career as a player.

Change needed after the Arsenal fans forced out Unai Emery, only 18 months after doing the same to Arsene Wenger.

The results haven’t instantly taken an upturn.

A run of one win in nine Premier League matches has been followed by one in eight under the new boss.

One major change though has been the number of goals scored in Arsenal games and Mikel Arteta quizzed about that in his press conference.

In their first 17 Premier League games this season, Arsenal scored 24 and conceded 27.

Under Mike Arteta, it is scored 8 and conceded 7 in eight PL matches.

A win for Mikel Arteta on Sunday could see Arsenal only three points off the top six but defeat would see the Gunners in the bottom half of the table, so a pivotal game in many ways.

Mikel Arteta pre-Newcastle United press conference:

What’s more important, scoring goals or keeping them out (with reference to the Arsenal 7 Newcastle 3 game which Arteta played in back in December 2012)?

“It’s winning.

“Obviously that game (in 2012) is is great for the crowd but for the manager it’s not great because balance-wise we suffered. But I love scoring goals for sure.

“I love attacking football but I like attacking football where you control what the opponent does to you in your own box.”

Have you sacrificed attacking flair for solidity (In first 17 PLĀ  games, Arsenal scored 17 and conceded 24, under Mike Arteta it is scored 8 and conceded 7 in eight PL matches)?

“I don’t think so though we had to generate some defensive stability but not by defending deep.

“It is by defending high and threatening the opponent as much as possible.

“The process to get there as many times as possible, in the most efficient way, has to be done properly from here.

“If not in two passes when you arrive there, that transition is impossible to control because you’re too far from the opponent.

“We need to do that first, to then after be able to generate and sustain attacks as many times as possible during the games.

“The players know how crucial the next three to four weeks are going to be for our aims to the end of the season.”

Preparation for playing Newcastle in this mid-season break:

“It was like a mini pre-season for us in Dubai.

“We had time to work on a lot of our principles, how we want to set up against different formations, the relevant things we need to work on, on and off the ball.

“Apart from that it was great to be together and spend some time together, get to know each other – not just the players but the staff and the backroom staff as well.

“It was a very productive trip.”

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