Guardiola Pleads For Time As Man City Recover From Slow Start

Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta (L) and Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola watch during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on October 17, 2020. (Photo by Alex Livesey / POOL / AFP)


Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City need time to hit top form after they ground out a 1-0 win over Arsenal on Saturday to move three points off the top of the Premier League table.

City dropped points in their two previous league games before the international break and were again far from their free-flowing best without the injured Kevin De Bruyne and Aymeric Laporte.

But after a short pre-season and a host of positive coronavirus tests and injuries, Guardiola is content just to be back in the pack near the top of the table.

“We are not unfortunately able to sustain for 90 minutes the way we want to play, but these games help us achieve it,” said Guardiola.

“We need time to grow as a team. I think this game is going to help us to make a step forward.”

On another high-scoring Saturday elsewhere in the English top-flight, the mutual respect between Guardiola and his former assistant Mikel Arteta led to a far more cautious encounter.

Arteta got the better of his old boss when the sides last met in the FA Cup semi-finals in July and Guardiola responded with a change to a 3-5-2 system to match up with Arsenal.

That pushed Raheem Sterling up front alongside Sergio Aguero, who was making his first appearance since June.

And Sterling was on hand to grab the only goal after Bernd Leno could only parry Phil Foden’s initial effort.

“Right now he is our best striker in sensing more chances to score a goal,” added Guardiola.

– ‘Come a long way’ -Arsenal remain without an away league win against one of the ‘big six’ in 29 games dating back to January 2015.

And despite a spirited performance, the fact they have lost again at Liverpool and the Etihad in the first five games of the campaign shows the strides Arteta still has to make to restore the Gunners to title contenders.

“We’ve come a long way,” said Arteta.  “I am upset because I think we deserve more from the game.

“I am extremely happy about the performance, the attitude, the courage to play they way we did today. I cannot demand much more from the players apart from the three big chances we have, you have to score.”

Arsenal were left to rue two huge opportunities late in the first-half as they were denied by City goalkeeper Ederson.

Bukayo Saka was the visitors’ biggest threat and the 19-year-old was denied by a brilliant Ederson save after a neat one-two with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Aubameyang was next to fire too close to the Brazilian stopper when he was one-on-one and onside despite the linesman’s flag being raised.

Arsenal also saw strong penalty appeals fall on deaf ears with the final action of the first-half when Kyle Walker’s high foot was not punished as he challenged Gabriel Magalhaes inside the area.

The presence of De Bruyne was missed as City again failed to control of the game once in front.

Leicester came from behind to win 5-2 at the Etihad and Leeds also took a deserved point after a blistering opening from City before the international break.

Far from the attacking force of the past three seasons, City were happy to sit on their lead after the break.

But in a second period short on goalmouth action, Nicolas Pepe’s weak header that was easily claimed by Ederson was the closest Arsenal came to an equaliser.




Partey Time For Arsenal + Other Expected And Done Big Deadline Day Deals

Thomas Partey is expected to join Arsenal on transfer deadline day. Photo: [email protected] Teye Partey.


Arsenal’s move for Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey is expected to be the biggest deal of transfer deadline day, while Edinson Cavani is on the verge of a move to Manchester United.

Partey has been a long-term target for the Gunners, who have reportedly matched his 50 million euro (£45 million, $59 million) buyout clause to bolster their threadbare midfield options.

The Ghanian has made 188 appearances for the Spanish giants and was part of the Atletico sides that reached the 2016 Champions League final and beat Arsenal on the way to winning the Europa League in 2018.

Uruguayan international Lucas Torreira is expected to go the other way from Arsenal to Atletico on a season-long loan deal.

Arsenal have made an impressive start to the season, winning three of their opening four Premier League games, as they aim to return to the Champions League next season for the first time in five years.

However, the Londoners have been short in central midfield with Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi, who has joined Hertha Berlin on a season-long loan, frozen out by Mikel Arteta.

United, scrambling for reinforcements after their 6-1 defeat to Tottenham on Sunday, are expected to make more signings, with Dutch international midfielder Donny van de Beek their only addition before Monday.

Brazilian international left-back Alex Telles has joined from Porto for an initial fee of £13.5 million.


Telles. Photo: [email protected] United

“He is a player we have been tracking for some time and his performances over the past few years are exactly what we are looking for,” said United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

“He is a fighter and a winner and will add real determination and competition to the squad.”

Former Paris Saint-Germain striker Cavani is reportedly close to joining on a two-year deal as a free agent.

After a forlorn chase of Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, United are also interested in adding two teenage wingers — Amad Traore of Atalanta and Penarol’s Facundo Pellistri.

However, neither is expected to make an instant impact on the first-team should deals be completed.

Premier League table-toppers Everton signed centre-back Ben Godfrey for a reported initial fee of £25 million.

But Theo Walcott is on the way out of Goodison Park for a return to Southampton on loan, whom he left as a 16-year-old to join Arsenal in 2006.

Tottenham’s Ryan Sessegnon has also joined the growing batch of young English players in the Bundesliga with a season-long loan move to Hoffenheim.

– Quiet window for European giants –

According to a report by the Centre for Economics Business Research, Premier League clubs were on course for an astonishing 95 percent of the net spend in Europe’s big five leagues this transfer window.

Barcelona’s accounts for the 2019/20 season showed the drastic impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on even the world’s richest clubs as the Catalans posted 97 million euro losses.

However, some of Europe’s giants were busy on the final day.

Juventus secured one of the hottest properties in Italian football as Federico Chiesa joined from Fiorentina on a two-year loan deal worth 10 million euros with an obligation to buy if certain conditions are met for a further 40 million.

Bayern Munich added a trio of new players as Douglas Costa returned to the Allianz Arena for a second spell on loan from Juventus.

In this file photo taken on August 12, 2020 Paris Saint-Germain’s Cameroon forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting celebrates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final football match between Atalanta and Paris Saint-Germain at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon. Bayern Munich confirmed on October 5, 2020 the signing of former Paris Saint Germain forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting with more signings reportedly expected in the last few hours before the transfer window closes.
David Ramos / POOL / AFP

The European champions also signed former PSG striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting on a one-year deal and Bouna Sarr from Marseille.


Arsenal Midfielder Guendouzi Joins German Side Hertha Berlin On Loan

Matteo Guendouzi
Matteo Guendouzi has made 57 appearances for Arsenal. Photo: [email protected] Guendouzi


Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi on Monday signed a one-year loan deal to join Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin.

The 21-year-old, who can play as a central or defensive midfielder, is a product of the Paris Saint-Germain academy and has made 57 Premier League appearances for the Gunners.

Matteo Guendouzi has made 57 appearances for Arsenal. Photo: [email protected] Guendouzi
[email protected] Guendouzi

“Discussions with the club’s senior figures convinced me to join,” said Guendouzi in a statement.

“I don’t just want to develop personally, but help the whole club take the next step.”

Guendouzi has made 82 appearances for Arsenal and was a second-half replacement in the 2019 Europa League final defeat to Chelsea.

He has been called up four times by France but has yet to make his international debut.


Pepe, Saka On Target As Arsenal Survive Sheffield Scare At Emirates

Arsenal’s English striker Bukayo Saka (C) celebrates scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Sheffield United at the Emirates Stadium in London on October 4, 2020. Kirsty Wigglesworth / POOL / AFP


Ivorian striker, Nicolas Pepe and youngster Bukayo Saka scored a goal each to help Arsenal secure a 2-1 win over Sheffield United in a Premier League encounter on Sunday.

Arsenal’s French-born Ivorian midfielder Nicolas Pepe (R) celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Sheffield United at the Emirates Stadium in London on October 4, 2020.  Kirsty Wigglesworth / POOL / AFP


Liverpool can now leapfrog Leicester to move joint top of the table alongside Merseyside rivals Everton if they win at Aston Villa later on Sunday, while Jose Mourinho takes his Tottenham team to Old Trafford hoping to exact revenge on Manchester United for his sacking nearly two years ago.

Arsenal have taken nine points from their opening four games as they look to return to Champions League football for the first time in five years next season.

But the Gunners were fortunate to take all three points at the Emirates as they had an early escape when David Luiz escaped a red card for a pull on Oli Burke.

Mikel Arteta’s men got going after the break and a fine team move opened the scoring on the hour mark when Bukayo Saka headed home Hector Bellerin’s cross at the far post.

Bellerin was the provider again moments later as Nicolas Pepe drove forward to curl the ball in off the far post.

David McGoldrick halved the deficit seven minutes from time with the Blades first league goal of the season, but they remain without a point.

Arsenal are now level on points with Leicester as the Foxes suffered a huge fall from grace just a week on from thrashing Manchester City 5-2.


Arsenal Knock Liverpool Out Of League Cup After Penalties

Arsenal's German goalkeeper Bernd Leno (L) celebrates with Arsenal's English midfielder Joe Willock (3L) after winning a penalty shoot out during the English League Cup fourth round football match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on October 1, 2020. Peter Byrne / AFP
Arsenal’s German goalkeeper Bernd Leno (L) celebrates with Arsenal’s English midfielder Joe Willock (3L) after winning a penalty shoot out during the English League Cup fourth round football match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on October 1, 2020. Peter Byrne / AFP


Arsenal held their nerve to reach the League Cup quarter-finals as Bernd Leno saved two penalties in a 5-4 shoot-out win over Liverpool after Thursday’s 0-0 draw at Anfield.

Mikel Arteta’s side had already beaten Liverpool on penalties in the Community Shield earlier this season and they repeated the trick in the fourth round tie.

Joe Willock scored the winning penalty after Leno saved from Divock Origi and Harry Wilson.

Adrian kept out Arsenal’s third spot-kick from Mohamed Elneny, but Alexandre Lacazette, Cedric Soares, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Nicolas Pepe all netted before Willock sent the Gunners through.

Arsenal, who haven’t lifted the League Cup since 1993, have won three of their last four meetings with Liverpool in the space of just 11 weeks.

Liverpool beat the Gunners 3-1 in the Premier League at Anfield on Monday, but Arsenal took the spoils against the champions in the league in July and the Community Shield in August.

Arsenal’s disciplined display was another sign that the FA Cup winners are heading in the right direction under Arteta’s astute leadership.

It was also revenge for last season’s League Cup defeat on penalties against Liverpool, when the Gunners led 3-1 and 4-2 in a thrilling 5-5 draw.

There was less drama until the shoot-out on this occasion as Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp made nine changes, with only Virgil Van Dijk and Mohamed Salah retaining their places.

Arsenal made eight changes as Bernd Leno, Rob Holding and Granit Xhaka retained their spots.

Takumi Minamino should have put Liverpool ahead when the Japanese forward volleyed against the bar from five yards after Diogo Jota’s header was pushed out by Leno.

Leno underlined why Arteta decided to restore him to the team and sell Emiliano Martinez to Aston Villa, making a superb stop from Van Dijk’s close-range effort and emerging as the hero in the shoot-out.

‘Awful performance’

In Thursday’s other fourth round action, Stoke claimed a shock 1-0 win at Aston Villa, while Brentford reached the last eight for the first time with a surprise 3-0 victory against Fulham.

Villa have won their first two Premier League games this season, but boss Dean Smith made 11 changes for Stoke’s fourth round visit and his understudies were not up to the task.

Stoke also fielded an under-strength team, but Michael O’Neill’s Championship team won it in the 26th minute when Sam Vokes headed in Jordan Thompson’s corner.

After reaching the final last season, when they lost to Manchester City at Wembley, this was a more forgettable exit for Villa.

“It’s a massive missed opportunity and I said that to the players. I don’t often get into them at half-time but I did today,” Smith said.

“With the tempo we played at it was a lacklustre first half and an awful performance.”

Brentford earned a measure of revenge for their Championship play-off final defeat to Fulham last season as they swept aside their Premier League opponents.

Facing a struggling Fulham side who made a host of changes, Thomas Frank’s team took the lead eight minutes before half-time.

Iran midfielder Saman Ghoddos found space down the right and squared the ball for Finnish youngster Marcus Forss to slam home.

Said Benrahma, linked with several Premier League clubs, doubled the Championship side’s lead when the Algerian forward arrived at the far post to finish off Ethan Pinnock’s header.

Making his first start of the season, Benrahma finished off west London rivals Fulham with a superb strike from long-range in the 77th minute.

“We are where we are. This is a team in transition, we came fourth in the Championship last year,” Fulham boss Scott Parker said.

“The players are learning. It’s new to them. When you go up to the Premier League you need to learn quickly.”

Tottenham, Newcastle, Manchester City, Manchester United and Everton reached the quarter-finals on Tuesday and Wednesday.



Klopp Fires Back At Keane For ‘Sloppy’ Liverpool Jibe

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp speaks during a television interview after the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield in Liverpool, north-west England on September 28, 2020. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / POOL / AFP)


Manchester United great Roy Keane rarely came off second best in a tackle but the outspoken TV pundit was forced to backtrack after Jurgen Klopp took him to task for labelling Liverpool “sloppy” following Monday’s 3-1 win over Arsenal.

Klopp jumped on Keane’s observation after his team’s victory, which maintained the champions’ 100 percent record after three games.

“Did I hear right? Mr Keane said we had a sloppy performance tonight? Did he say that?” said Klopp.

Former United and Republic of Ireland captain Keane did not address the question directly.

“I think they gave up one or two opportunities, which he will be disappointed with,” said the 49-year-old.

Klopp, who won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2019 and their first Premier League title last season, pressed on.

“Did he say that it was sloppy? I want to hear it,” said the 53-year-old German. “I am not sure I heard it right and maybe he was speaking about another game.

“It cannot be this game. Sorry, that is an incredible description of this game.”

Klopp described his team’s performance against in-form Arsenal as “exceptional”.

“This game tonight — there is nothing bad to say,” said Klopp. “It was the opposite of sloppy.”

Keane, unusually for him, sought to calm the situation.

“You might have misheard me,” he said. “There were sloppy moments but I think you have been outstanding and I have been giving the club nothing but praise.

“I am not sure you heard me correctly, you need to hear the rest of it.”

Klopp laughed and said: “I will, 100 percent.”

Keane, though, had the last laugh after the Liverpool boss had left the interview.

“Very sensitive, isn’t he? Imagine if he’d lost.


Arsenal Face Acid Test Of Arteta Revolution At Anfield

Manchester City’s assistant coach Mikel Arteta takes warm up ahead of the English League Cup quarter-final football match between Oxford United and Manchester City at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford, west of London, on December 18, 2019. OLLY GREENWOOD / AFP


Mikel Arteta has “changed the mood” around Arsenal, according to Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp with the Gunners rejuvenated by winning the FA Cup, Community Shield and their opening two games of the Premier League season.

However, the toughest test of what Arsenal can aim for this season comes on Monday with a trip to Anfield, where Klopp’s men have not lost in 60 league games.

Arteta described Liverpool’s home as the “toughest place in the world” to go, but Arsenal can take confidence from two victories over the Premier League champions in the past three months.

AFP Sports looks at three key battles where the game will be won and lost.

Trent Alexander-Arnold v Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Aubameyang has been the key figure in Arsenal’s revival, scoring twice in the FA Cup semi-finals and final to defeat Manchester City and Chelsea and his side’s goal plus the winning penalty in the shootout against Liverpool in the Community Shield.

Arteta has followed Klopp’s example by using his biggest goal threat cutting in from a wide area and Aubameyang will look to exploit the space left by Alexander-Arnold as he marauds forward

“With the speed they have for the counter-attack, that can cause you some trouble,” warned Klopp.

However, Liverpool could just as easily benefit from one of the league’s most creative players in Alexander-Arnold not being tracked by Aubameyang.

A minor injury meant he missed the Community Shield and Aubameyang made the most of his absence against the inexperienced Neco Williams. With the England international back, Liverpool are a different side.

Thiago v Granit Xhaka

Liverpool signalled their intent to defend their crown as champions by adding a world class talent in Thiago Alcantara to a team of winners.

The Spanish international gave a glimpse of what he will offer by completing more passes than any Chelsea player despite playing just the second-half of last weekend’s 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge.

An injury to Jordan Henderson means Thiago is likely to make his first start on Monday and Xhaka has the unenviable task of stopping him dictating the game.

The turnaround in the Swiss international’s Arsenal career is symptomatic of the changes since Arteta’s arrival.

Seemingly on his way out of the club after tearing off the armband and swearing at his own supporters when substituted against Crystal Palace just less than a year ago, Xhaka has rehabilitated his reputation among the Arsenal support by becoming the cornerstone of Arteta’s midfield.

Mohamed Salah v Kieran Tierney

Salah’s hat-trick on the opening day of the season against Leeds took his tally in Premier League games for Liverpool at Anfield to 51 in 57 home games.

That includes scoring against Arsenal in each of their previous three league trips, but Tierney is facing Liverpool away for the first time and has added more steel to the left side of the Gunners’ defence.

The Scotland international is perfectly suited to his role as the left centre-back of Arteta’s three-man defence, where he can also push into a more advanced role when in possession, like he did for Celtic prior to his £25 million ($32 million) move to the Premier League.

Salah scored six times in his first six appearances against Arsenal for Chelsea and Liverpool, but failed to find the net the last two times the sides have met up against Tierney.


We Are Ready To Face Liverpool- Arteta

Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta reacts on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium in London on September 19, 2020. (Photo by Will Oliver / POOL / AFP) 


Mikel Arteta believes Liverpool are getting “better and better” but says Arsenal must go to Anfield believing they can win after two straight victories against Jurgen Klopp’s men.

Arsenal have a maximum six points from their first two league matches of the season but face the ultimate test of their character against the Premier League champions on Monday.

Liverpool also have a 100 percent record this season but suffered a league defeat at the Emirates in July and lost to Arsenal on penalties in the Community Shield last month.

“We know the standards they have set in this league, how consistent they have been and that’s because they dominate almost every aspect of the game,” Arsenal boss Arteta said on Friday.

“So we need to be at our best, we need to compete really well against this team and hopefully the boys are ready to do that on Monday.”

Arteta said it was easier to play at an empty Anfield than in front of Liverpool’s passionate supporters but pointed out that Klopp’s side were in fine form.

“I think they are getting better and better,” he said. “They have fewer weaknesses. They are a fantastic side.”

Arteta called on his team to be ruthless in front of goal but said they would also have to prepare to “suffer for periods”.

“Most important, have the belief that we can go there and win and we all have to believe we are capable of doing that,” he said.


Premier League Side Arsenal Sign Iceland’s Runarsson

Runar Alex Runarsson
Arsenal coach Arteta believes the Iceland goalkeeper will provide good competition for Bernd Leno. Photo: [email protected]


Arsenal signed Iceland goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson from Dijon on Monday to act as back-up for first-choice Bernd Leno.

Runarsson joins the Premier League club for a reported 1 million pounds ($1.3 million) after agreeing to a four-year contract.

The 25-year-old replaces Emiliano Martinez after the Argentine keeper joined Aston Villa last week.

Englishman Matt Macey was on the bench as Arsenal beat West Ham on Saturday.

“We want to create healthy competition for places and we look forward to seeing Alex bring further depth to the goalkeeping position,” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta told the club’s website.

Runarsson joined Ligue 1 club Dijon in July 2018 and made 13 appearances in all competitions last season.

He started his career with Icelandic outfit KR Reykjavik and went on to join FC Nordsjaelland in Denmark before moving to Dijon.

“We’re very pleased to welcome Alex to our squad. We have been monitoring him for some time and from the analysis, he has strong attributes that we look for in a goalkeeper and as a person,” Arsenal technical director Edu said.


Five Things We Learned From The Premier League’s Return

Mane celebrates one of his goal in the game. Photo: [email protected]


The Premier League began with a bang this weekend as Liverpool launched their title defence with a pulsating 4-3 win over new boys Leeds.

Arsenal and Leicester both recorded impressive 3-0 victories but Jose Mourinho was left fuming after he tasted defeated on the opening day of a league campaign for the first time in his career.

Big-spending Chelsea eased to a 3-1 win at Brighton, but Blues goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga made another blunder.

AFP Sport picks out five things we learned from the opening weekend of the season.
‘Special’ Leeds a welcome addition

The return of Leeds to the Premier League after a 16-year absence, and with the mercurial Marcelo Bielsa at the helm, was highly anticipated and it did not disappoint.

The new boys were two minutes away from taking points off the champions until Mohamed Salah completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot to ensure Liverpool emerged victorious at an empty Anfield.

“Leeds are special,” said Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, in the knowledge that other title contenders will struggle to beat Bielsa’s men this season.

As the scoreline suggests, improvements will be needed at the back but Leeds will remain true to Bielsa’s philosophy in trying to impose themselves on the opposition and on the evidence of their opening salvo, there should be no fear of dropping back down to the second tier.

Sensible VAR

The biggest surprise of the Premier League’s return came with the lack of controversy caused by VAR as new interpretations of how to use the technology largely led to more sensible decisions.

Southampton’s Kyle Walker-Peters saw a red card downgraded to a yellow after referee Jon Moss came to the sidelines himself to assess a replay.

Newcastle’s Jeff Hendrick was not penalised after the ball struck his arm, which was by his side, during the Magpies’ 2-0 win at West Ham thanks to a more generous interpretation of the handball rule for defenders.

Arsenal show top-four promise

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal have made a habit of upsetting the odds, defeating Manchester City and Chelsea on their way to winning the FA Cup last season and beating Liverpool twice in recent months.

Those victories were earned through defensive discipline and a threat on the counter-attack, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the main dangerman.

Before Saturday’s trip to Fulham there were questions over how the Gunners would deal with sides who would not open up against them but Arteta’s men responded with an emphatic 3-0 win at Craven Cottage.

New signing Willian had a major role to play in all three goals, scored by Alexandre Lacazette, Aubameyang and another debutant, Gabriel Magalhaes, as Arsenal laid down a marker in their bid to finish in the top four.

Ancelotti gets the better of Mourinho

Everton and Tottenham both turned to multiple Champions League-winning coaches in the middle of last season to revive their fortunes, but both will be judged on what they achieve this season.

On the opening weekend, Carlo Ancelotti got the better of Jose Mourinho as Everton won away from home against traditional top-six opposition for the first time since 2013.

New signings Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure gave the Toffees the dynamism and grit they have badly missed in recent seasons in midfield, while James Rodriguez showed glimpses of the quality that once made him one of the world’s most in-demand players.

Spurs, by contrast, look lacklustre, with Mourinho labelling his players “lazy” out of possession and showing little sign of halting their slide since reaching the Champions League final just over a year ago.

Kepa blunders again

As Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga allowed Leandro Trossard’s long-range shot to slip through his weak attempted save, Blues boss Frank Lampard must have had a familiar sinking feeling.

Despite Trossard’s equaliser for Brighton, Lampard’s expensively revamped side went on to win 3-1.

But since he joined Chelsea in 2018, Kepa has conceded 19 Premier League goals from outside the area — more than any other keeper.

The Spaniard, the world’s most expensive keeper, was dropped by Lampard twice last season after a series of costly blunders.

Although Kepa started the new campaign in the team, he might not have his place for much longer as a move for Rennes’ Edouard Mendy is reportedly close to completion.


Aubameyang Deal Shows Arsenal Are Among European Giants, Arteta Says

Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (L) and Arsenal’s Spanish head coach Mikel Arteta hold the winner’s trophy as the team celebrates victory after the English FA Cup final football match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in London, on August 1, 2020. Arsenal won the match 2-1. / AFP / POOL / Catherine Ivill /



Mikel Arteta said Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s decision to sign a new deal at Arsenal showed the Premier League club were on the same level as European giants such as Barcelona.

The Gabon forward, 31, committed his future to Arsenal this week after months of speculation that he would leave for a club in the Champions League.

The deal is reported to be worth £250,000-per-week ($324,000), with bonuses that could take it beyond the £350,000-per-week contract of the club’s highest earner, Mesut Ozil.

Arsenal boss Arteta, speaking at his pre-match press conference on Friday, said he was delighted the transfer saga was over.

“It was a big boost because I think everybody was hoping for Auba to stay but it was creating some uncertainty around the place and obviously it’s great as well to be able to finish those sort of speculations, move on and find some more stability,” he said.

“It was worrying me because it’s so hard to find replacement strikers of that calibre, so I’m really pleased,” he added.


File photo: Arsenal’s Spanish head coach Mikel Arteta shouts instructions to his players from the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Sheffield United at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 18, 2020. Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP


The Spaniard said it was a “joy” to work with Aubameyang, who signed for the FA Cup holders in 2018 and has scored 72 goals in 111 appearances.

“The way he trains, the way he behaves himself and the way he performs is exactly what I want from him so I want him to do that again consistently in the next few years,” Arteta said.

The manager admitted that when he joined the club last December he was not as positive as he had been in the past few weeks that Arsenal would keep hold of their star forward.

“Financially we were in a position that it was difficult to get what we wanted to get,” he said. “I think Auba had his doubts as well at the time.

“Things evolved in a natural way. I had a feeling that the club wanted to move forward, I had a feeling that Auba wanted to stay here and we were just trying to glide those things together and that sometimes takes time but if the outcome is what we both wanted then we’re happy.”

– Arsenal ambition –

Aubameyang had been linked with a move to Barcelona but Arteta said the deal showed Arsenal were as big a name as the Spanish giants.

“I think the big reason Auba is staying is because we have an incredible football team, an incredible club,” said Arteta, who started his career in the Barcelona youth system.

“We have some fantastic people working here and because he feels as well how much love he’s got from the fans.”

Arteta, whose side host West Ham on Saturday, said the club were looking to bring in a new goalkeeper to compete with Bernd Leno after the departure of Emiliano Martinez to Aston Villa.

Emiliano Martinez. [email protected] Villa


Iceland international Runar Alex Runarsson is believed to be close to joining.

“We’ve been looking in the market and I think we will be shortly in a position to announce our new signing,” said Arteta.


Arsenal Goalkeeper Martinez Joins Aston Villa

Emiliano Martinez
Emiliano Martinez leaves Arsenal after ten years. Photo: [email protected] Villa.



Aston Villa announced the signing of Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez on Wednesday for a reported fee of £20 million ($26 million).

The 28-year-old Argentine, who has signed a four-year deal, helped Arsenal to FA Cup victory last season and Community Shield glory last month but faced playing second fiddle to Bernd Leno this season.

Villa boss Dean Smith said: “We are really pleased with the signing of our new goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez. We know how highly Arsenal rated him and we watched his outstanding performances last season in a trophy-winning top side.

“We moved for Emi when we saw the opportunity, as it is rare to be able to buy a top-class goalkeeper who hasn’t yet reached their peak age and who can therefore be a key player for our club for the long term.”

Martinez ends a 10-year association with the Gunners, following Matty Cash and Ollie Watkins in moving to Villa Park.

He was signed from Independiente in 2010, making 39 first-team appearances and spending time on loan at six clubs.

“Thank you, thank you for all of the years (of support),” Martinez told “I thank God for having the opportunity over the past few months to show the Arsenal fanbase what I am made of, and why I went on loan so many times.

“It was always to come back and win them trophies and give them silverware. I did it, I feel prouder than ever.”