Date published: Thursday 29th October 2020 10:37
Mikel Arteta hinted that keeping his large Arsenal squad happy was proving a problem but welcomed the selection headache his players gave him following the victory over Dundalk.
The Gunners eased to a 3-0 Europa League win over the Irish minnows. Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock and Nicolas Pepe were in the goals at Emirates Stadium, with the Ivorian winger scoring the pick of the bunch.
Arteta opted to ring the changes for the clash, with Granit Xhaka the only player to retain his place from Sunday’s loss to Leicester.
However, speaking after the game, Arteta suggested he will keep affording chances to his fringe men in the Europa League.
“We made it look easy because we were very disciplined, took it seriously and were at it from the beginning,” Arteta told BT Sport.
“We made a lot of changes, gave opportunities to other players and I think they performed well.”
The Spaniard suggested that keeping his large squad happy was problematic, but will continue to give game-time in the Europa League.
“We have a large squad and I wanted to give opportunities to everybody. Today they showed they were prepared when I need them and today they made it more difficult me for selection,” he added.
“Sometimes it is about the quality, sometimes it is about the tactical plan for the game. I am very pleased with the performance today.”
One man who stepped off the bench in the win was Willian.
The Brazilian has not been seen since the 1-0 defeat to Man City earlier this month.
Earlier on Thursday, Willian admitted playing under Arteta was proving a steep learning curve for one major reason.
Explaining his absence on Sunday, Arteta revealed he was glad to bring the winger off the bench
“We missed Willian the last couple of weeks, he had a very short pre-season. He needs that bit of rhythm,” Arteta added. “He looked good today, great to get some minutes in his legs.
“After losing the way we lost against Leicester it was painful. It took is a few days to react but it’s good to respond straight away with a win and now we go to Old Trafford and try to win again.”
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Willock keen to fight for Arsenal shirt
Arsenal goalscorer Willock hopes his goal will catch Arteta’s attention and earn him more chances.
Speaking to BT Sport, Willock said: “I’m happy to get a win. I thought we played well. Every team is a struggle in Europe, we had to stick to our plan and I felt we did that.
“I am grateful to play for this team, to start from the beginning makes me happy and a proud moment for my family. I’m happy for the team and happy to score as well.
“He [Mikel Arteta] just told me to keep working hard. I told him I want to fight for my position and hopefully I will get an opportunity again.”
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