Arsenal

Every word Mikel Arteta said on Saka’s contract, Saliba’s performance and Jesus’ best position

The Gunners boss spoke to the press after his side's 2-0 preseason victory over Everton at the M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore

How useful was that for you?

Good. Two really different halves. I think the first half really good, really intense, (we) understood where the spaces were and the execution was really good. We were a threat all the time and had a lot of bodies attacking, couterpress was top, I really liked it. Second half we started a bit sloppy. We changed formation and we had too many giveaways giving them control of the match. The last 20 minutes we changed again and I think we got control again. Overall boys are doing what they’re doing in training. They’ve trained really well, with a really high intensity in every session and you can see that in the way they play.

Gabriel Jesus once again looked a real threat?

He rooks really sharp, really dynamic and has a really good understanding with his teammates straight away. They are looking for him, he’s generating chances and good connections around specific spaces that we want to exploit with him especially. Really happy.

Was playing as a nine a big part of him coming here? Do you see that as his true position?

He’s very versatile. But obviously, the way we would like to develop him is in that position, but not on his own sometimes. Don’t close that door because in relation to what the opponent does in certain games we’re gonna have to use him in different positions. He’s open to that and he knows that’s part of his strengths as well.

Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah are not the typical English number nine. What are the qualities you think they can give you?

They have everything we need. First of all they are very intense, both of them. The way they can press, the way they can sustain pressure with the opponent is great. Both of them can threaten in behind, which can allow people to have space inside. They are really good in link-up play and they both have an eye for goal which is what nines do. But they are not 195cm, they have other qualities. But for the way we play, they are fantastic.

City and Liverpool have achieved success without a traditional striker. Do you think English football has gone that way?

Well it depends. Look at Harry Kane, look at Haaland. I think are moments where certain strikers, they grow and they have their moments in European football. It depends on their qualities. Lewandowski is another one with completely different qualities who scores 45 goals every season. So it’s what is available and it’s what the team needs.

So it doesn’t worry you that you don’t have a six footer up front?

You want to have everything available. You want to have a six footer, you want to have a false nine. But what I’m saying is I’m really happy with the two strikers that we have.

How important is his aggression?

He creates chaos and uncertainty. He’s always on your shoulder, he’s always there to knick the ball off you, he’s always in front of the goal. He’s a real threat and this is what we need. And then when we give the ball away he’s the one who’s straight away active and putting pressure and getting his team behind him. He has developed his leadership skills a lot and I can see straight away what he’s trying to do with the boys, and he’s the type of guy that we want.

Is it good that he’s got that nasty streak to him?

I love those kinds of players. Streetwise, they learn a lot, they know how to feel, they can take advantage of any situation and that’s what we need.

Is that something you haven’t really had with Alex and Pierre in recent years?

We have other qualities. Gabi, and Eddie as well, they bring different qualities.

What have you seen from Matt Turner so far?

Really happy with him and the way he’s settled in. He’s an extraordinary character, a lot of personality and he’s great at what we want. Obviously it was a big moment for him to come with an Arsenal shirt, in the States, in front of the crowd and he did really well.

What do you want from him in the next few months?

That he continues to do the same and he will have chances to play.

What did you think of the crowd and how has your stay in Baltimore been?

It’s been great. We didn’t know what to expect, but it was 40,000 supporters here, 35,000 of them Arsenal fans. So thank you so much for them to come. They really make a difference and the boys appreciate that, that’s why they did the lap of honour at the end. Incredible. So happy and thank you.

Did you expect that intensity from the fans?

Well they have been pretty passionate. They’ve been waiting outside the hotel for hours, and doing that. So they’ve been pretty consistent in the last few days and it shows in the engagement they have with the team and the players.

What does it do for the players confidence to hear individual chants from the crowd?

Probably for them it’s the first time that they are experiencing this in the States. That means they’re starting to get some recognition more around the world and that’s credit to what they’re doing.

How confident are you of getting Bukayo Saka’s contract extension sorted this summer?

We will try. We both have the same intention. It’s a matter of time.

How do you think William Saliba got on in his second debut?

Really good. I think he played a really good game, he looked really composed. Straight away from day one he looks really focused. He has evolved the way we wanted, and I think he had a really good performance.

Is Ben White OK?

He had a bit of a niggle in his quad so we have tried to protect him. But he trained with the squad yesterday.

So he’ll be alright for the start of the season?

Yeah.

Have you got anyone not available at the moment due to injury?

We have Kieran with a slight problem, we have Emile as well with a muscular niggle, Tomiyasu as well and Ben. The rest are fine but it’s a matter of days with those guys.

Is Fabio Vieira OK?

He had a slight problem in his bone (in his foot) and hopefully he will start to train in the next week or so.

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