Mikel Arteta made eight changes to the starting line-up yesterday for Arsenal’s visit to Newcastle, and the fringe players were easily dominant against a Newcastle side that hardly bothered to turn up.
But with the really important game coming up on Thursday, was Arteta happy with this run out to help prepare for Villarreal? ” Yes because we had a strong and a very convincing performance.” the boss told Arsenal.com. “We scored two goals, we kept a clean sheet, won the points, and had some really strong individual performances too. The only downside is the one with David because we know how important he is to us. I think we lost him today.
“That was the biggest part of the preparation today. We were away in Spain because we believe it was the right way to prepare for the game today, to give them the right rest, and then mentally as you said it was important to focus on today. We had to pick the right players to play and perform like they did. I think the message got across really clearly.”
Although Arteta played a lot of reserve players, the best benefit was seeing our captain Aubameyang return to action and seal the win with the second goal, so hopefully we won’t be playing with a false nine again on Thursday.
Also, it may not have been a world-beating performance, at least we know our most likely starters were given a rest ahead of Thursday. There is no room for mistakes this time around….