Arsenal were at their ruthless best on Friday night, beating Aston Villa 3-1, thanks to goals from Thomas Partey, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Emile Smith Rowe.
Manager Mikel Arteta was understandably delighted with his team’s performance on Friday night, as Arsenal defeated Aston Villa 3-1 in the Premier League. Thomas Partey opened the scoring before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang doubled the lead from the penalty spot before the break. Emile Smith Rowe scored Arsenal’s third of the night in the second half, while Jacob Ramsey pulled one back for the visitors. When asked if the first half is a blueprint of how he wants his team to play, Arteta told the media, “Yes, very close to it.”
“What I liked the most was the way the team reacted from Monday evening – how we finished the game and how they were in the dressing room, accepting that it wasn’t good enough, that we played to a really good level in some parts but at a level that was not acceptable in others. We are the youngest team in the league, but that’s not an excuse. We cannot change the age. We cannot find excuses – we have to find out why those things happen in the game, find the right solutions and then put them right and believe that they can play at that level, because they can,” he added, according to the club’s website.
Speaking about Alexandre Lacazette’s performance, Arteta said, “I think the [man of the match] could have been anybody. I think individually, they were all terrific. If you ask me about Thomas, about Sambi, about Nuno as well, the two central defenders, anybody. I think the way they played was at a high, high level. Emile was terrific. He’s scoring goals, which we’re demanding him to do, because he’s capable of doing it. I think it’s more about the team today.”
Praising about Smith Rowe starting to add end product to his game, Arteta said, “That should be a habit and he should demand that in his game, because he’s capable of doing it. I’m pleased he’s developing that. He still needs to develop more in other areas. The other night he wasn’t 100 per cent fit but he made a step forward and wanted to play with a difficult injury that he had. He wasn’t complaining, he was just looking forward. He’s changed the way he’s living a little bit as well, and some habits that he had. He’s been superb.”
“It’s a perfect example of why we want to keep him, why we are giving him the opportunity to do what he can do for our club and that we are happy with him.”
Arteta was then asked about how Emile Smith Rowe has had to adapt. The manager explained, “Well when you want to take the game to the next level, when you become a really important player in such a big club, that should be the only priority, and every detail is important and relevant. You have to make them aware of that – you cannot give percentages away that can make big differences. He’s changed that, and credit to him and the staff here that are monitoring and trying to build that education with him, and it will get only better.”