Arteta addresses Guendouzi absence; sends Saka strong message on future

Date published: Thursday 25th June 2020 9:15 - Steve Pearson


Mikel Arteta revealed why Matteo Guendouzi was not selected in their victory over Southampton, and opened the door to Bukayo Saka to extend his Arsenal stay.

Arsenal came into their clash with Southampton on the back of two successive defeats.

Desperately in need of three points, The Gunners’ youth fired them to victory via the boots of Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Arteta said: “We had two very difficult weeks. I was concerned after the defeat at Brighton, it really touched the team but I could see yesterday the reaction was really positive.”

Regarding the non-selection of Guendouzi, Arteta added: “It was squad management.

“Whatever issue we have internally, I will resolve in a private way.”

The win gave a much needed boost to the club’s hopes of qualifying for European competition next season.

However, the Spaniard, is under no illusion that performances must still improve if they are to secure a top seven finish.

“I don’t want to talk about what happens on the table but what happens in training and games,” he continued.

“Against Brighton we had total control and threw the game away in seven minutes. I know what this team can do when we’re at 100 per cent but if not we’re average.”

“We have to evolve as a team and there are a lot of things we have to go through to learn. They are so willing. I never criticise the effort, I was critical of the way we lost [at Brighton].”

“We will change the gameplan in relation what we want to generate attacking-wise and how we can constrain their strengths. We don’t have the flexibility I would like right now.”

On the future of rising starlet Bukayo Saka, Arteta said: “It’s in his hands. He has a manager who has total belief in him and teammates who adore him. You can put him in different positions and he picks it up really quickly. He could have produced three goals today easily.”

See how all the action unfolded at St. Mary’s via the F365 score centre here.

Eddie Nketiah opened the scoring following a goalkeeping howler from Alex McCarthy.

He told Sky Sports: “I think it was a very important three points.

“We knew we had to roll our sleeves up and really fight for the three points and hopefully we can build on this and keep pushing forwards.

“It was difficult, they came out really strong in the second half and I thought all the boys fought and worked hard. It’s really hard in the heat to keep going but I think we did that.”

He added: “Luckily at the end we were able to wrap it up and add a bit of gloss to the scoreline.”

On his goal, Nketiah said: “We work a lot on our high press and I think we did it well today, and for me personally I try and give it all to the team. I could just tell, a bit of uncertainty from the goalkeeper and I just kept pulling in.

“I’ve done that about 100 times so it’s nice that one of them turned into a goal.”

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