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Mikel Arteta with no doubts after Newcastle “I think overall we fully deserve to be through”

2 weeks ago
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Mikel Arteta continues his perfect FA Cup record with Arsenal.

Taking over at the Emirates on 20 December 2019, the Arsenal boss has since won every FA Cup match.

Including winning the trophy against Chelsea at Wembley in August (2020), Mikel Arteta hasn’t done it the easy way either, five of the seven wins have been against Premier League opposition.

Something in stark contrast to Steve Bruce, who after 18 months in the Newcastle United job, has lost every cup (FA and League Cup) match against Premier League opposition.

Saturday night saw Arsenal struggle to break through against the predictable deep Steve Bruce defending, the Gunners absolutely dominating the ball as they passed and passed and looked for a way through, as Newcastle dug in around the box.

Some would maybe claim it was some kind of moral victory for Newcastle not to concede in the opening 90 minutes but it was a terrible game to watch.

Newcastle didn’t have a single shot on target in that opening 90 minutes, it taking until 92 minutes for the first effort(s) on target. In what proved to be the only two shots on target in over two hours of football, Elliot Anderson saw his shot saved, before a second or two later Andy Carroll failed with an absolute sitter from the rebound, the keeper doing well but he should have been given absolutely no chance.

Despite it taking Arsenal 109 minutes to score, Mikel Arteta was in no doubt who deserved to win the game, declaring after the match: ‘I think overall we fully deserve to be through.’

The Gunners weren’t great with a much changed side but having had 25 shots and nine of them on target, as well as dominating the match overall, it is difficult / impossible to argue with Arteta’s take on the match.

Arsenal are now on a run of four wins in a row, whilst Steve Bruce has failed to win any of the last seven games, including five defeats and cup exits from both competitions.

In eight days time the two team meet once again at the Emirates and with Palace at home on Thursday, every chance Arsenal will be looking to make it six wins in a row.

As for Steve Bruce, failing to win at Sheffield United (only two points from 17 PL games) on Tuesday and Newcastle will be looking at nine games without a victory if again failing at the Emirates.

Mikel Arteta post-match press conference, via the official Arsenal site:

On Newcastle United...

“We knew that [Newcastle pushing Arsenal for 120 minutes] was going to be the case.

“When you make that many changes around the team, sometimes that cohesion is missing a little bit.

“I think we had more than enough chances to put the game to bed much earlier but when you don’t do it in the opponents’ box and the game is open, you know that you’re going to leave a situation or two for them to score and that’s when in knock-out stages, you need your goalkeeper to save you. Bernd did that in a crucial moment.

“Then when we took our chances, we won the game and I think overall we fully deserve to be through.”

On Emile Smith Rowe’s performances…

“It means that we believe in him, that he’s playing really well, that he’s growing and becoming more and more important in the team. Today he showed that today with the way he came on, the personality he plays with.

“We asked him to get into the box more and be more of a threat, and today he scored a really important goal for us.”

On whether he’s ever seen a player score a winning goal after being sent off…

“No, it’s my first time!

“I was going mad because when I saw the action on TV, I didn’t think that he could get sent off.

“Thank God the regulators decided to get VAR. Today it worked the way it should work. I’m so happy to have that.”

On being able to trust his young players…

“Yes because in difficult moments, to step in like they’ve done is not easy.

“Obviously they need the senior players around them, the players who have experience and the players who play central roles in team to support them. I think we have a great mixture.

“We cannot put too much responsibility on them as well, we have to build it slowly because we have the talent, the right characters and we have them in different positions as well which is helpful and promising for the future.”

On Willian’s form…

“I think he was improving and improving. The other day he came on really well against West Brom. He’s been out as well because he was ill, so he’s missed almost two weeks of training and football.

“Today was the first time that he started the game. He had some good moments and he had some other moments that he needed more help sometimes, and some decisions weren’t the best. But we’re going to keep trying with him. He shows in training how much he wants it, he had some highlights in the game and it’s about keeping the confidence in him. We know the player he is.”

On whether it’s hard to keep Willian’s confidence up…

“I think when the team is winning it’s easier because there is more time to do that process. He needs to build the relationship with some players. Today he played in a slightly different position as well. We’ll get there.”

On Gabriel Martinelli…

“I am gutted. I was in my office before the game and one of the coaches came in and told me that Gabi had hurt himself, that he’d twisted his ankle. I went to the medical room and he was in tears. He was in a lot of pain and we’re going to have to see how he is. It didn’t look good. He was in pain so I imagine that we’re not going to have good news with him.

“I hope [there will be a scan tomorrow]. We really want to know what’s going on.

“He’s a character and he wants to play the next game. He doesn’t care and can handle pain but I don’t know. Hopefully there is nothing too serious but to start with, it didn’t look too good.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Arsenal 2 Newcastle 0 – Saturday 9 January 5.30pm

Goals:

Newcastle:

Arsenal:

Smith Rowe 109, Aubameyang 117

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Arsenal 61% (65%)  Newcastle 39% (35%)

Total shots were Arsenal 25 (7) Newcastle 12 (2)

Shots on target Arsenal 9 (3) Newcastle 2 (0)

Corners were Arsenal 8 (5) Newcastle 3 (0)

Referee: Chris Kavanagh

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Krafth (Murphy 68), Lascelles (Ritchie 45), Clark, Dummett, Hayden, Sean Longstaff, Hendrick, Almiron (Yedlin 81), Joelinton (Anderson 81), Carroll (Gayle 105)

Unused Subs:

Gillespie, Matty Longstaff

(Arsenal 2 Newcastle 0 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)

(After 0 wins in 7 and 1 goal in over 8 hours – Steve Bruce sees ‘signs of progress’ at Newcastle – Read HERE)

(3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Arsenal 2 Newcastle 0 (AET) – Read HERE)

(Arsenal 2 Newcastle 0 (AET) – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s defeat – Read HERE)

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