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Arsenal will be on the action for their first Premier League clash of the 2020/21 season against Fulham on Saturday afternoon.
The Gunners’ campaign officially began with the club’s Community Shield victory over the newly-crowned league champions, Liverpool, at Wembley on August 29. This was the second trophy along with FA Cup under Mikel Arteta, who took charge of the team in December, following the sack of Unai Emery.
Arsenal’s first Premier League opponents will be Fulham that were promoted to the first division after their impressive 2019/20 campaign in the Championship.
And ahead of the clash, Arteta spoke to the media. He has revealed David Luiz and Sokratis Papastathopoulos will miss out Fulham match:
“We have a few issues, that’s normal. It’s not ideal to have key players out but we have enough players and we will put the best plan to win.”
Speaking on new signings, Willian and Gabriel, and whether they could be involved, the Gunners manager said:
“They are adapting quickly, really good energy from both. [Gabriel] has huge potential to be influential for us.”
Arteta refused to comment on Emiliano Martínez’s transfer speculations, linking the goalkeeper with Aston Villa, while being asked about the transfer plans for the summer, he answered:
“We’re still active in the market. Active in players in and out, the squad balance is not what we want. We have to bare in mind the timings because clubs are acting in different ways. Number-wise, some positions are overbooked. Some positions, the specific qualities are still not there. It’ll be hard to do it in one window. It’s a constant evolution. You need a clear direction of what you want to achieve.”
The Spaniard has opened up on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the 31-year-old is expected to sign a new contract with the club, with his current deal expiring next summer.
“I can say I’m even more confident that at the end of last season. I’m really optimistic.”
Speaking on Alexandre Lacazette’s future at the club, the manager said:
“He’s really happy here. He wants to keep contributing to the team. He knows about the competition with the strikers here. The way he’s been training has been excellent. I think he’s very happy here.”
Arteta also shared his thoughts on Mesut Ozil. The latter has found his playing time limited with the club, while still has one year left in his contract. Speaking about the midfielder, boss said:
“All the players we have available will be treated the same way. They all put maximum effort in training and this is what I expect.”
Gunners’ manager also spoke about Matteo Guendouzi was guilty of several disciplinary breaches and failed to figure at all in the first team after an altercation with Brighton’s Neal Maupay during the defeat against Seagulls back in June.
“Matteo’s been training like any other player in the squad. We had some really positive conversations, he’s been training well. He played really well with France. I’m not going to discuss what happened internally.”
When being asked about the first Premier League opponents, Fulham, Arteta revealed a tough game is expected.
“The team is a good reflection of the coach. A very thorough person, the way they got promoted was really good. We know it’s a typical, tight stadium, it will be tough.”