Mikel Arteta: ‘You cannot promise anything’ but Brentford match will ‘be a good chance’ for Aaron Ramsdale

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta kept his pre-match press conference at the Sobha Realty Training Centre short and concise ahead of Saturday’s game against Brentford. The Spaniard was quizzed about Aaron Ramsdale’s chances of returning to the side, the impact of the club’s trip to Dubai and managing game time for players.

Asked if there was any major team news ahead of the game in terms of injuries, Arteta told reporters that ‘not much’ has changed.

‘We got some players back last Monday. We have [Gabriel] Martinelli and [Bukayo] Saka who may be out but we will have to wait and see how they are tomorrow,’ he explained.

Moving away from injuries, Arteta was questioned as to whether Aaron Ramsdale could be ready for a tough fixture against Brentford. The Spaniard expressed full confidence in his goalkeeper, telling reporters that ‘he trains really well every day. He is desperate to play like the rest of the boys who haven’t had as many opportunities, and Saturday is a good chance for him.’

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Arteta was also asked about the difficulties posed by having to keep players happy when they are perhaps not getting the playing time that they feel they deserve. He made his stance clear, explaining that ‘you cannot promise anything – we don’t know what will happen in a week’s time.’

‘We need to show them compassion and they need to feel that we are next to them and we understand where they are. But the reality is this is football, this is a team sport and you have to understand and fulfill the role you have – who knows, in three weeks it might be different.’

He also spoke about the positive impact of the club’s trip to Dubai, citing that it allowed the players to ‘improve as a team.’

The trip ‘was necessary,’ he said at the Sobha Realty Training Centre on Thursday. ‘Obviously we had a really tough period before that – we played so many games: we had some defeats, especially not deserving to lose matches. But I think it was something as well that was probably necessary to keep improving and keep demanding [more from] ourselves. The weather, the temperature and [the fact] we had the time to improve as a team, everything clicked then we won and we played well and that helps.’

As has been the case for countless months, Arteta was asked to speak about the transfer rumours that link Ivan Toney with a move to Emirates Stadium. The Spaniard was quick to brush off the suggestions though, merely saying: ‘I don’t talk about any other player because if not, I have to be ruling out every player in the market because we are linked with a lot of players!’