In a very lengthy interview, Arteta answered a wide range of questions that covered Bernd Leno, Martinelli, Southampton and more. See the full transcript from Arsenal.com.
During his interview, Arteta took a brief look ahead at Southampton and identified a few of their strengths:
“They are a very German side. A manager who has the team into pressing mode, they are really aggressive, really good on the counter-press, really good on the transition, they know what they’re doing and they all seem very committed to him. A very dangerous team.”
Earlier in the day Arsenal announced an update to the squads injury problems, including Bernd Leno having a positive diagnosis suggesting a 4-6 week recovery time versus previous suggestions of up to a year. At this same time, Arsenal fans found out Martinelli suffered a knew injury that could keep him out for the remainder of the restarted season.
In addition to this rollercoaster of emotions, it was revealed that Sokratis and Xhaka are ready to be back in full team training. When asked about the liklihood of them playing Thursday, Arteta said:
“Well, we don’t know yet – they haven’t trained fully with the team yet. Let’s see how they are tomorrow and if they can be involved in any way with the squad. But they are not yet ready.”
Might not be an official yes or no, but the fact that those two are close to full training is a positive sign and offers Arteta much-needed options to select from.
Arsenal will play their third straight away game of the restart and Arteta commented on the difficulty of playing Southampton at home.
“I know it’s a really difficult ground to go to there. I explained what the qualities of Southampton are and I agree with you, they are a really dangerous team. They have no fear, they go for it and they really believe in what they do and they compete really, really well. We have to be ready and I’m sure on Thursday we will be ready.”
It wont be any easier for Arsenal than Brighton was at the weekend and Arsenal have had a chronic problem away from home. In fact, after the Brighton match there had been only two wins for home teams since Project Restart — both against Arsenal.