Arsenal boss Arteta expects a big ‘reaction’

Praise for Gunners players in Anfield loss fallout

Friday, 26th November 2021 — By Steve Barnett

Mikel Arteta IMG_7781 (1)

MIKEL Arteta wants to put on a show for the Arsenal fans tomorrow (Saturday) when Newcastle visit the Emirates in the Premier League lunchtime kick-off.

The Gunners saw their 10-game unbeaten run abruptly ended last time out when they were beaten 4-0 by Liverpool.

But Arteta says he instantly saw a reaction from his players, and now they want to get back to winning ways against the Magpies.

“I really liked the reaction that we had already in the dressing room at Anfield after the game,” revealed the Arsenal boss. “How some players took leadership and described what happened in a really honest way, and looked forward.

“There are always bumps in the road, there are results, there are injuries, there are issues you have to deal with and I really like how the team has reacted through the week.”

Arsenal’s weekend fixture is one that is only going to get tougher in the coming seasons with the recent Saudi takeover making Newcastle arguably the richest club in world football.

Arteta admits he can see the visitors are “building momentum” under their new ownership – and new manager Eddie Howe – but says he still expects to see his side bag three points.

He said: “We have to show a reaction tomorrow in front of our people. It is important to perform well, play as good as we can, and then we will be close to winning the match.

“We know the attacking threat that Newcastle have. They have players that can hurt you in the last 30 metres of the pitch and we’re going to have to be really conscious of that and play as well as we can.”

Reflecting on Newcastle’s poor record at the Emirates, Arteta joked “let’s keep that going!”, adding: “It is a new game, obviously there are so many changes happening there, you can see the momentum that is building. You see the last game they played, you saw some different things: new manager, new coaching staff, so let’s be prepared.”

Tomorrow’s showdown also marks the first return for Joe Willock following his summer move to Newcastle in a deal that is thought to have earned the Gunners in excess of £20m.

Arteta insists it was “a difficult decision” to let the midfielder go, but insists he did what was best for the player.

“I think it will be really nice to have him back, we all love and like Joe,” said the Spaniard.

“Obviously it was a difficult decision to make to let him go, but I think he’s shown that what he needs is to play the minutes that he’s finding there and finding a new challenge.”

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