Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has reflected on recent events at the club.
The last few weeks have been busy at the Emirates Stadium. The Gunners sought to win a first league title for 19 years, but a poor run of form allowed Manchester City to take the lead and lift their third Premier League trophy in a row.
Nonetheless, it hasn’t been all bad news in north London. Youngster Bukayo Saka has extended his stay at the club, signing a new four-year deal.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Arteta has looked back at a turbulent time with Arsenal.
On Saka’s new contract
“Well first, congratulations to him, and to everyone at the club who has been trying to get the deal done,” Arteta said. “His family, his agent – everybody has put a lot of time and work on it.
“I think he represents this club in the best possible way. He has merited his new contract with his contribution to the team, to the club, with how he is.
“He’s really likeable, really humble, loved by everybody here. The way he talks to people, he takes time to really understand how people are feeling. He really cares.”
It will come as a relief to Arsenal fans to see the 21-year-old put pen to paper on a new contract. His previous deal was set to expire in 2024, leaving him potentially available on a free transfer in a year’s time.
The winger has been one of the Gunners’ key players this term, as well as one of the Premier League’s standouts. He has registered 13 goals and 11 assists in 37 league appearances, earning him a nomination for the Player of the Season award.
On Pep Guardiola
Prior to his appointment at the Emirates Stadium in 2019, Arteta worked as Guardiola’s assistant for three-and-a-half years. In that time, they won five domestic trophies together.
“I called him to congratulate him and the staff,” he added. “I know all the hours they put in, how much they suffer, and how much they have to think and think and try to promote that winning mentality. At the end, you have to say ‘congratulations’.
“He’s a really good friend of mine. It’s not only that I respect him, but I admire him as a person and as a professional.”
On Manchester City’s title win
Arteta’s side led the league table for the majority of the season. As recently as four weeks ago, they were at the summit.
However, Arsenal hit a bad patch, winning just two of eight outings. Man City capitalised on this run of form, winning 12 in a row and cruising to the title.
Despite this, Arteta holds no bitterness towards the Cityzens. He heaped praise on the champions, emphasising that they deserved their place.
“They deserve it – 38 games doesn’t lie,” said Arteta.
“We have some regrets. Against Liverpool, 2-0 up – against West Ham, missing the penalty – against Southampton we made some mistakes.
“Even if we had won those games, it wouldn’t have been enough. This is the level.
“Everything has to be perfect against that team (Man City). There are no margins for error.”
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