Mikel Arteta: ‘Every time I walk in the street, it’s lots of pride’

Mikel Arteta addressed the press on Friday afternoon to preview Arsenal’s upcoming fixture away at the London Stadium, where they’ll face a West Ham side who put the first nail in the coffin of their title hopes last season. The Gunners record against the Hammers hasn’t improved this season, with David Moyes’ side having already beaten them twice.

Arteta started by commenting on the availability of Oleksandr Zinchenko and Takehiro Tomiyasu, and on Bukayo Saka’s fitness after a gruelling game against Liverpool.

‘We have a few still in contention, tomorrow we have another training session and we are hopeful that we will have a few back and put out a very competitive squad,’ he explained, going on to add that Saka has ‘been recovering this week.’

Despite an impressive 3-1 win over Liverpool last Sunday, a lot of the discourse surrounding that game has been around the Arsenal squad’s celebrations on the pitch afterwards, but Arteta said that he wants that passion.

‘I didn’t know anything about it. I love it, I’ve seen managed sliding on the pitch, I’ve seen very big managers stepping onto the pitch, running across the touchline; I’ve seen that all in the Premier League. Personally I love it because it brings such passion and emotion to the game in a natural and unique way.’

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He went on to say that he hasn’t paid any attention to the comments made, and is focusing on the clear positives.

‘What I’ve heard in the last five days is all positive. If you want to hear the negative part or the very positive part, and I think that it is a lot of positivity and a little bit of negativity. I think it was positive, Every time I walk in the street, it’s lots of pride. I don’t have that impression at all.’

After a veteran performance against Liverpool last weekend, Arteta was asked whether the club would be looking to extend his current deal at the end of the season.

‘I’m really happy with him, that’s all I can say. The contract situation is for Edu and the Board to manage,’ he told reporters.

Looking ahead to this Sunday’s fixture agaist West Ham, Arteta was asked about his previous manager David Moyes and the job that he’s done with his current West Ham squad.

‘He’s an extremely experienced manager who is very good at getting the best out of his team,’ explained Arteta. ‘He’s extremely good at managing the group, he’s a really competitive manager who understands when you get an edge in the game and wait for the moments in the game to punish you. His trajectory and what he’s done at West Ham is incredible.’

Arsenal take on West Ham at 2pm this Sunday at the London Stadium, with the Gunners hoping to continue their good run of form after last week’s title six-pointer.