Every word Mikel Arteta said on Bukayo Saka Arsenal form, VAR decisions and Bournemouth win

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has spoken to the press after his side’s 3-0 win over Bournemouth, including updates on Bukayo Saka’s form, VAR decisions and his Wolves pyjamas

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 04: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal, celebrates his team's first goal scored by Bukayo Saka of Arsenal (not pictured) from a penalty kick during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and AFC Bournemouth at Emirates Stadium on May 04, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

A harder game on the pitch than the scoreline suggested?

I never expected it [to be]. I thought that we started the game, probably the best first half we’ve played all season. We were unbelievable, everything, flowing, super composed on the ball, really aggressive without the ball. We generated so many chances, we could have gone three, four, five [up] easily and we didn’t. We scored one.

Credit to Bournemouth, they changed a few things and created some issues. The game became a little bit more open, something we wanted to avoid. Within that game we resolved certain situations in the right way and we were very efficient in front of goal to score the goals and maintain another clean sheet.

It was a pretty tight second half before Trossard’s goal…

Because we were 1-0 and with the quality of opponents we play you have to navigate through those moments. We knew that. If you score two, three, four in the first half it’s a different game. We didn’t so if you don’t you’d better be so good at managing those moments.

David Raya won the Golden Glove today. What are your thoughts on that?

We’re really pleased. It’s a huge success for the team in this league to achieve that with a few games to go still. It gives us a huge foundation to be closer to winning trophies. The contribution from everybody including David obviously, it’s really good.

A lot. If we spend money we’d better do it wisely and in the most effective way! We’re really happy with the recruitment that we had. It had a big impact in the team, it has raised not only the level of the team but the level of the rest of the players as well. You see today we had some big performances from a lot of individuals. If we want to be at that stage you need that.

Kai looks like he’s having so much fun on the pitch…

He was unbelievable today, honestly. Everything he did: the timings, the movements, how he keeps the ball, the way he goes to the press, how he links play, his understanding of the game. He was unbelievable today.

What were your thoughts on the incidents involving the ruled out Bournemouth goal and the challenge on Saka?

The honest answer is I haven’t seen any of the incidents because I knew you were going to ask me. I did it on purpose. The analysts said do you want to watch it and I said no because then I can tell the truth. I haven’t seen them so I cannot comment or have an impression. The one on David, the foul, I cannot see because it’s too far. The one on Bukayo, is it on purpose or not? I don’t know so difficult for me to judge.

Are your team able to manage hairier moments because there a year older or is it something else?

If a year is enough to do that. For some teams it takes them five or 10 years to achieve it. At the end we’re trying to do the right things. The energy and commitment that the boys put in is unbelievable. Hopefully it will pay off.

How has Saka matured this season?

I think the level of consistency compared to last year is very similar. Probably there areas in the game he’s become more effective in. I see a different edge to him in the way he competes. Not the way he plays but the way he competes. Also he loves winning more than three months ago, six months ago, a year ago. That’s something that’s hopefully now in his system.

Will you watch the City game?

Yeah I will be there sitting with my kids and my family.

With a Wolves shirt on?

No, pyjamas. Comfy pyjamas.

Were you happy with the Havertz penalty?

I was happy when I saw the decision, very happy. I was happier when Bukayo scored the goal.

Was it the right decision?

I don’t know. Kai is not someone that dives but I haven’t seen the image.

Have you been surprised by Rice’s contribution in the final third this season?

Yes. We thought that, that was going to be very related to the spaces he was going to occupy on the pitch. But then it’s something else to do it in this league. He’s done it. Credit to him. Even when we’ve changed him from position to position, it’s not easy to adapt to that, so I think he deserves a lot of credit for that.

Is it difficult to decide where best to use Rice?

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