Arsenal moved to within two points of Premier League leaders Liverpool after routing sorry West Ham in the East End of London on Sunday afternoon. PICTURE: Courtesy of Arsenal FC
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been speaking after his side thrashed West Ham 6-0 in the East End on Sunday afternoon.
The rampant Gunners routed David Moyes sorry side with Declan Rice’s superb long-range strike sealing the joy of six as the Hammers side suffered their heaviest defeat in a home league game since 1963.
Read on for everything Arteta had to say:
on what the boss said to the players before today’s game:
Time to beat West Ham. We all knew it, we all had it in our tummies and we knew that it was going to be a really tough match, and we have to do certain things better especially in both boxes than in the previous match. We certainly did that today.
on what the victory shows about our character with the number of players we had missing:
Yeah, absolutely but I’m not surprised by the way they train every single day. It’s true we are missing some big players for us, and some big starters, but at the end, players need possibilities and chances to judge them. And certainly, today we can judge them and say how good they are.
on what the boss can say about Bukayo Saka’s performance:
That at his age, in the position and consistency [he shows] – normally they don’t go in the same line – he’s proving everybody wrong and [showing] he can do it. What he has done today as well I had doubts that he was going to take the penalty or not because of what happened [last season], but it shows as well how mature he is and how determined he is as well to go to the next level.
on what our ruthlessness today showed about the team:
That we want to learn, that we want to be better every single week and that we are not satisfied. After the Liverpool game, we have to show now that we have the capacity to replicate that level, or be better, and that’s the way the boys trained the whole week.
on Declan Rice’s display coming back to West Ham and his set-piece prowess:
I’m really happy with him because it was a very emotional and special day for him. He loves West Ham so much, and today he had to focus on the task and what he had to deliver. Set-piece were one of those, because when we have certain players on the field, he can threaten from outside of the box more than inside the box. And then I was really pleased to see the class of the crowd as well to give him the reception that, I think, he deserves.
on being able to silence the home crowd:
We try, but the opponent plays as well. We certainly want to do that and play in the opponents’ box as much as possible. And you’re going to provoke that normally, and today we have managed to do that very well.
on the way Kai Havertz and Leandro Trossard integrated into today’s game:
It’s something very different and the way I had the game in my head, and the spaces and behaviours that they have, how we could hurt them the most with Leo and Kai in those positions. And then we saw that in the executions – credit to them, they did really, really well.
on if the boss agrees with Saka’s comments that we’re smelling blood in the title race:
That’s up to him to say! What I want as a team is for them to be better and better. The way they trained this week, they were totally focused after Liverpool to say: “okay, now it’s a big task and now it’s time to go another level and beat West Ham.” And they certainly did that today.
on if it was a statement victory in the wake of our win over Liverpool last week:
Yes, obviously. We are maintaining and building some momentum now, and the performances have been really strong, as well as the results in recent weeks. We need to maintain that because the other teams are doing it as well, we are not the only ones, and we need to recognise that. Now, onto Burnley.
on if the players feel like they’re pushing the standards every week:
Yes, because we know the standards and the level that we are facing. We need to be at this level if we want to have any chance to be successful.
on if Rice’s set-piece ability was one of the reasons we signed him:
Yeah, it was something that we knew, and we could imagine. It depends who as well who plays in the team, how much height, presence and physicality that we have inside the box to make the right decisions. He certainly has the delivery, he used to it here at West Ham as well, and he’s done it in the national team. It’s another thing that we can add to his game.
on if the boss thought about keeping Saka on the pitch to get a hat-trick:
No, I thought that it was time [to take him off] as well because he played so many minutes so we had to give him a rest and to give an opportunity to someone else to step in.
on why Takehiro Tomiyasu was not in the squad today:
He had a niggle when he came back from the national team, and it was not the moment to risk him after how many minutes he’s played.
on Ethan Nwaneri’s involvement:
There is something that you have to do in your team, and that is the trust of the teammates. And I had two things: one, the players on the bench whispering to bring Ethan on, which is a great thing to hear, and the other one your teammates want to give you the ball all of the time. If they do that, it’s because they really trust you and you can only have to see how many times he was involved in that. So it was a great sign.