‘I Will be Ruthless In My Approach,’ Says Arteta

 

Manchester City’s Spanish assistant manager Mikel Arteta t
Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

 

Mikel Arteta has warned Arsenal’s underachieving stars that he will be “ruthless” as the new boss looks to restore a winning mentality to his troubled club.

Arteta, who had been working as an assistant to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, was hired by Arsenal on Friday after agreeing a three-and-a-half-year contract to replace the sacked Unai Emery.

The former Arsenal midfielder arrives at the Emirates Stadium to find a team in crisis following a wretched run that cost Emery his job and reaffirmed the sense the Gunners have lost their way since the final years of Arsene Wenger’s reign.

Languishing in 10th place in the Premier League after a run of one win in 12 games in all competitions, Arsenal hope Arteta can steady the ship and eventually turn the north Londoners into contenders for a top four berth.

And Arteta, speaking at his official unveiling at the Emirates on Friday, made it clear he will take a hardline to ensure the malaise doesn’t continue any longer.

“I have to engage the players, when I was here with Man City (last week) everyone was a bit down,” Arteta told reporters.

“We have to have the right culture here, if we don’t then the tree will shake.

“After that we can talk about other things. We need an immediate impact and need to raise the level of the performances to start winning games and engage with the fans.

“The ambition of this football club is very clear. You have to fight for trophies and be in Europe. The rest is not good enough.”

Arteta has earned praise from Guardiola for the work he did with City’s players during their title-winning campaigns.

The Gunners boss is ready to put the lessons he learned from Guardiola into action, starting with a single-minded approach to installing his own philosophy at a club desperately lacking purpose and unity in recent years.

“What I have learned mostly is you have to be ruthless, consistent and fit the culture of the club to sustain a winning mentality,” Arteta said.

“Every act is important. Pep’s work-rate is incredible. The staff have to be able to transmit it and when the players buy into that, you can be strong.

READ ALSO: Arsenal Appoint Mikel Arteta As New Head Coach

– ‘Be responsible’ –

“I want to do things my way by convincing them it is the right way for everybody to live better.

“Everybody has to be responsible and I do not want them hiding, I want people who deliver passion and energy.

“Anyone who does not buy into this, has a negative effect, is not good enough for this environment and culture.”

The 37-year-old won the FA Cup twice in a five-year playing career with Arsenal, then joined City to work with Guardiola after retiring in 2016.

He revealed he came very close to taking the Arsenal job following Wenger’s departure in 2018, but conceded it was not the right time for him then, whereas now he has the knowledge to make a success of a difficult situation.

Given the huge problems lurking in Arsenal’s unbalanced and inconsistent squad, many fans wanted a more experienced boss to replace Emery.

Arteta is adamant he won’t be fazed by his first managerial role, saying: “I will give every drop of blood for this football club to make it better.

“I feel back home. I am extremely happy and proud to have been given the honour of being manager of this football club,” he said.

“I have prepared for the challenge and am ready. If I didn’t feel that, I would not be siting in this chair.”

Arsenal haven’t won the Premier League since 2004 and appear light years behind champions City and current leaders Liverpool.

One of the main issues facing Arteta is how to deal with German midfielder Mesut Ozil, who has endured testing times of late with Arsenal and is the subject of speculation over a January move.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal’s leading scorer, is also said to be unsettled by the team’s struggles and Arteta wants to get to know those two and the rest of the squad as soon as possible.

“I want to understand how they are feeling and what they need,” he said.

“Then I can take the excuses out of them and focus on the things which are relevant on and off the pitch. It is my job to get the best out of him (Ozil).”

AFP

Arsenal Appoint Mikel Arteta As New Head Coach

 

Manchester City’s Spanish assistant manager Mikel Arteta 
Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Mikel Arteta has been appointed head coach of English Premier League side Arsenal meaning a return to the club he played more than 100 games for.

The 37-year-old Spaniard, who played for the Gunners from 2011-2016, signed a three-and-a-half year contract and ends a three-year stay as Pep Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City.

He replaces compatriot Unai Emery, who was sacked last month.

“We’re delighted to announce Mikel Arteta is joining the club as our head coach on Sunday,” read an Arsenal statement.

“Mikel, a former club captain, played for us for five seasons from 2011 to 2016 and has signed a three-and-a-half year contract.”

AFP

Arsenal Yet To Comment On Sanchez Bust Up

Arsenal Yet To Comment On Sanchez Bust UpArsenal is yet to comment on reports that Alexis Sanchez was involved in a training ground bust-up with his team-mates prior to Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Liverpool.

Widespread reports in the national press have suggested that the 28-year-old walked out of training mid-session last week before being involved in an angry confrontation with his team mates.

Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger, is likely to face questions over the alleged incident at his media conference ahead of the Champions League return with Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

Sanchez was left out of the starting line-up for the match at Anfield, but came on at half time with the Gunners losing 2 – 0, following the strikes from Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.

Wenger Denies End To Coaching Job, Considering New Arsenal Offer

Arsene Wenger On SagnaCoach Arsene Wenger has debunked claims that he will be ending his coaching job with Arsenal at the end of the season.

The Frenchman stated that he has no intention of retiring, even if it means managing another club.

His position has been under intense scrutiny, after the Gunners lost 5-1 to Bayern Munich in Wednesday’s Champions League clash.

Wenger, however, maintained that the ongoing season would not be his last in managing the North London side.

While his contract with the Gunners will expire in the summer, the 67-year-old said he is undecided on whether he would take up the two-year deal which has been offered to him by the Arsenal Board.

Middlesbrough Scuttle Arsenal’s Six-match Winning Run

arsenalArsenal’s six-match winning run came to an end against Middlesbrough but a point was enough to move them top of the Premier League table.

Manager Arsene Wenger – celebrating his 67th birthday – watched his side dominate possession but underwhelm in the final third.

The Gunners managed five efforts on target, but only one worried Boro keeper, Victor Valdes, when he pulled off a great one-handed stop to deny Alexis Sanchez.

Aitor Karanka’s side defended brilliantly and, despite conceding much of the possession to the home side, created the better chances.

Arsenal keeper, Petr Cech, blocked Gaston Ramirez’s header, twice denied the outstanding Adama Traore and also saved from Alvaro Negredo.

With A Bit Tired Legs

The home side briefly thought they had won it in injury time but Mesut Ozil’s effort was rightly ruled out for offside.

arsene-wenger
Arsene Wenger says the energy was a bit down today

Despite remaining in 17th place, Boro should be buoyed by the display and unexpected result.

In his post-match comment, Wenger said his team had the possession but with a bit tired legs. There was not enough left in our legs today.

For him, one remarkable thing was that the team made sure they did not lose the game.

In other matches, Scott Arfield’s 90th-minute winner gave Burnley their third win of the season in a match dominated by Everton.

Xherdan Shaqiri scored twice as stoke comfortably won at hull to move out of the relegation zone.

Nigeria striker, Ahmed Musa, scored his first goal for Leicester City, as the champions stretched their unbeaten home run to 20 games.

Winston Reid scored a late winner for West Ham to extend Sunderland’s losing streak to nine games.

Yusuf Invites 26 Players For Super Eagles Friendlies

Super Eagles-Salisu Yusuf-Eagles FriendliesSuper Eagles Head Coach, Salisu Yusuf, has called up 26 players for the international friendlies against Mali and Luxembourg in Europe.

The three-time African champions would take on the Les Aiglons of Mali in France on May 27 before flying to Luxembourg to play the country’s national team on June 1.

Yusuf, who was installed as interim Head Coach by the Nigeria Football Federation last week, picked a relatively young squad that also includes former U-20 and former U-23 players.

All the invitees in the goalkeeper categories are: Carl Ikeme (Wolverhampton Wanderers, England), Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa), and Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Sunshine Stars).

The defenders invited are: Abdullahi Shehu (Uniao da Madeira, Portugal), Musa Muhammed (Istanbul Basaksehir, Turkey), Elderson Echiejile (AS Monaco, France), Kingsley Madu (AS Trencin, Slovakia), Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa SK, Turkey), Leon Balogun (Mainz 05, Germany), Gbenga Arokoyo (Gaziantepspor, Turkey), William Troost Ekong (Haugesund FC, Norway), and Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto, Portugal).

For the midfielders, players called up are: Ogenyi Onazi (SS Lazio, Italy), John Mikel Obi (Chelsea FC, England), Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City, England), Wilfred Ndidi (KRC Genk, Belgium), Raheem Lawal (Osmanlispor FK, Turkey), and Etebo Oghenekaro (SC Farense, Portugal).

The players invited in the forward category are: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia), Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium), Victor Moses (West Ham United, England), Odion Ighalo (Watford FC, England), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England), Aminu Umar (Osmanlispor FK, Turkey), Aaron Samuel (CSKA Moscow, Russia), and Brown Ideye (Olympiakos FC, Greece).

Arsenal’s Petr Cech Reveals Secret To Vital Saves

Petr CechPetr Cech says taking a calm assessment of dangerous situations is the key to making important saves.

The experienced goalkeeper has had a big impact at Arsenal since his summer move from London rivals Chelsea.

Cech was particularly pleased with his performance against Liverpool in August, when he made two fine saves to deny Christian Benteke and then Philippe Coutinho.

“[My favourite was] probably the first one against Benteke because Gabriel tried to intercept the ball when he ran across the goal, and until the last fraction of a second I didn’t know whether he was going to touch it or not,” Cech told Arsenal Player.

“I had to wait and I also knew that Benteke was already there. I thought, ‘OK I have to wait to see if he deflects it towards his own goal or whether it will go anywhere else’, and then I knew that I would have to go fast to the other side. I was lucky that I had perfect timing to get there.

“Taking information before the situation happens helps. I knew he was running there so I knew that the moment Gabriel missed the ball I had to get there as fast as possible.

“It’s the awareness that I had two options; to wait and then as soon as the ball went past him, knowing that I had to get there. I was ready for that so as soon as I saw that he would not touch the ball I had already gone.

“Maybe it’s a bit of experience, but I would say it’s taking the information prior to the situation. That was the key in this moment.”

Wenger Knows Exactly How I Tick – Ozil

OzilMesut Ozil is relishing playing under Arsène Wenger because the manager knows “how he ticks”.

The German playmaker recently celebrated two years at Arsenal, having helped the team to win and then retain the FA Cup in that time.

Ozil is happy in north London and says his good relationship with Wenger is a major reason for that.

“He knows exactly how I tick and I know exactly what he thinks of me,” he told Arsenal Player. “I just want to help the team as much as possible on the pitch – that’s my target.

“Of course sometimes things work better than at other times, that’s football, but the manager believes in me and that means a lot to me.

“He has experience and in past years you’ve seen him develop some top players. I get on really well with him and he gives me his trust. I’m thankful to him for that and to be praised by a coach like him means a lot.

“I thank him for that through good performances on the pitch.”

Ozil says Wenger’s influence was a key factor in him moving to the club from Real Madrid in 2013.

“Before I joined, I knew that Arsenal were always a technically-strong team,” he added.

“That’s also why I decided to join this club, because I know exactly what the manager wants from the team.

“Our game centres around playing good, technical football and that’s good. It’s thanks to the manager because he’s worked on that for years and has formulated a technically-gifted team that can dominate any opposition.

“That’s why we’re really pleased to have a manager like him.”

Cech Hails Arsenal Team Spirit

CechPetr Cech believes that Arsenal’s “extraordinary” team spirit will drive them on to further success in the coming season.

The Czech Republic international joined the club in June and has been delighted with the reception he has received from his new team-mates.

Cech is confident that the camaraderie he experienced on tour with the club in Singapore can help the Gunners mount a sustained title challenge this term.

“What I’ve found is a group of players who work very hard and who are focused on what they are doing on the pitch to get ready,” the goalkeeper said.

“I found that the team spirit is extraordinary in the way that everybody pulls in the same direction. This is why I believe that we can have a successful season.

“We need to have that connection between players to reach the same targets. I’ve only been here a few days but I can feel that the team is together.

“We have a good balance in the team. We have players with a lot of experience and we have young players who want to prove their value by being a part of the first-team squad and playing as much as possible.

“There are hungry players, there are experienced players and in terms of the age category we have a good balance. We hope to use that to our advantage.”

Mertesacker, Coquelin Believe Retaining FA Cup Will Be Tough For Arsenal

FA CupArsenal Captain, Per Mertesacker, says the squad is approaching Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Reading with vivid memories of last year’s tough semifinal against Wigan Athletic.

Mertesacker said that the Gunners have learnt lessons from their exit from the UEFA Champions League and cannot afford to make mistakes

The German defender believes the game will be tough but expects his team to win the encounter.

“It is going to be their biggest game of the season so to mentally prepare that is going to be difficult, not just to match their physicality and mental strength but to do more, to be on the ball from the start,” Mertesacker said.

“[We need] to show them respect but no fear for the pressure. The winning streak helps us a bit but this competition is completely different.

“It is the best competition I have ever played in because so many big teams struggle. But I don’t want to struggle.

“I want to repeat the success. That is my real target so let’s make sure that we are on the same level and do more than our opponent.

“The mental side of that [Wigan] game was really tough and we need to repeat that to show that we’re good enough and mentally good enough to repeat that.

“On the football side we’re good enough but sometimes you need to put in some different qualities nobody expects from you.

“We had some different games when you think of Manchester City away – nobody expected us to play like that, focusing on our own defence and then getting them on the break. That was something new for us as a team.

“We need a special performance on Saturday as well to release that pressure.”

The Gunners have won 16 of their past 18 matches and are heavy favourites to progress against Championship side Reading.

However, Francis Coquelin – who played against the Royals earlier this season while on loan at Charlton – says they will have to make a fast start to the match.

“You know the FA Cup, you don’t know what to expect – any team is ready for it and it is always a tough game at any stage,” he told Arsenal Player.

“A semi-final at Wembley will be even tougher. We need to be ready and start on the front foot. Hopefully we can do that and win the game.

“I remember a tough game [against them for Charlton]. We won 1-0, but to be honest I don’t think we really deserved it.

“They put a lot of pressure on us, they have Pogrebnyak up front who is a big threat, and on the wings they have great players as well. We know it will be a tough game, it is a semi-final and the league you play in doesn’t matter.

“Whether you are in the Championship or the Premier League, in a game like this the team who puts the most pressure on and creates the most chances will win. If everyone is focused, we know we can get a good result.”

Arsenal Beat Man United In FA Cup

ArsenalEnglish football giants, Arsenal FC, have defeated old rivals, Manchester United to qualify for the semi finals of the English FA Cup.

This is courtesy of a 2-1 victory in the quarter final match decided at Old Trafford on Monday night.

Nacho Monreal scored his first goal of the season when he clinically finished a terrific move to put the Gunners in the lead but Wayne Rooney quickly equalized three minutes later during a captivating first 45 minutes.

The second half saw the defending champions regaining their lead in the 61st minute after a catastrophic back-pass error, which Danny Welbeck took advantage of to score in his first return to the stadium that he called home until last summer’s deadline day.

Jones failed to control a high ball, so Valencia rolled a pass back to De Gea. However, he didn’t get enough on it and the former Red Devil nipped in, poking it beyond the onrushing keeper before slotting into the vacant net.

The pressure to get another equalizer, however, got the best of United’s Di Maria, leading to a second yellow and a sending off in the 77th minute.

After being booked for simulation, Di Maria clasped at the referee’s shirt in an attempt to get his attention so he can complain about the booking, but for that infraction the official showed him his second yellow to make United’s task even harder.

Arsenal held on to emerge triumphant and secure their much desired revenge over United, having won at Old Trafford for the first time in 11 attempts.

Man-U, Arsenal FA Cup Tie Is Like A Final – Van Gaal

Van GaalManchester United Manager, Louis Van Gaal, is savouring Monday night’s FA Cup tie against Arsenal and feels the quarter-final clash could have a substantial effect on the race for the big four in the Barclays Premier League.

The United boss senses an opportunity to take a big step towards retaining his record of winning a trophy in his first season with every club he’s managed.

The former Netherlands boss also appreciates that a cup victory over United’s old rivals at Old Trafford could have a positive psychological effect in the league as the battle for Champions League places hots up.

“It’s a game between two teams of 11 players,” Van Gaal said, speaking to his pre-match press conference.

“United and Arsenal are placed third and fourth in the league, so it’s almost like a final, I think.

“We have the support of our fans but Arsenal shall bring a lot of fans too. Also, Arsenal and United are now in third and fourth place, so it is a big event with two good teams. I hope we can give a fantastic match for the fans.

“I think if we beat them it is a big blow for them, but if they beat us it is a big blow for us. It is very important game, not only for the FA Cup but also for the rat race,” van Gaal said.