Thoughts from pre-Crystal Palace Press Conference
Mikel Arteta was barraged with questions from the journos ahead of Arsenal’s clash with Crystal Palace in the Premier League.
The first line of questioning was around Jurrien Timber’s long term injury and Arsenal’s plan to mitigate this. The boss confirmed that it was a blow, with Timber playing very well prior to the injury, but the team was going to adapt to manage the change. Arsenal has the quantity and most importantly, quality, to manage Timber’s injury layoff. Oleksandr Zinchenko is just returning to fitness and this Crystal Palace game might come too soon for him, so it paves the way for Kieran Tierney to return to the side.
Tierney hasn’t been favored by the gaffer, especially with our inverted full back system, and has been linked with a move to Newcastle, but with the Magpies set to sign Lewis Hall from Chelsea, Tierney’s chances of moving to the North East is slim to none. Arteta also challenged Tierney in the pre-Crystal Palace presser and from all indications, the Scottish fullback might get the nod at Selhurst Park.
Arteta was asked about the acquisition of David Raya and what he brings to the squad. The gaffer was elated to have two ‘excellent’ goalkeepers that fit the club’s model, and he will be willing to find a way to accommodate both of them, and hopefully, keep them happy. The Aaron Ramsdale vs. Raya battle is one that will be very interesting, and I’m happy that the club has two very good goalies that will challenge each other and Arsenal would be the beneficiary of that healthy competition.
The manager was asked about the positives from the win over Nottingham Forest, and he touched on the team’s dominance of the game, the amount of times the team played in the territory they wanted to play and was satisfied with the chances the club created. However, I had my concerns about the way we played against Nottingham Forest – the formation looked disjointed, the away side was quite difficult to breakdown and the Gunners had to rely on moments of individual brilliance to gain all three points. The defending also left a lot to be desired and the ending was quite nervy.
There were other talking points ranging from whether our forwards can score 20 goals, Bukayo Saka’s development and injuries to other players based on increased schedules.
Arsenal plays Crystal Palace on Monday, and there will be a lot of Premier League football to go around for we ‘neutrals’.