Thursday, September 8, 2011

Arteta: 'We Can Still Fight For The Title'

Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal can rein in the Premier League pacesetters and challenge strongly for the title this season.

The Spanish midfielder is in contention to make his home debut against Swansea this weekend after completing a transfer deadline day move to Emirates Stadium last week.

Arteta sat down for an interview with Arsenal Player this week and watch the video clip now by clicking on the link to the right.

Alternatively, scroll down this page for a transcript of this exclusive interview.

Mikel, you've been an Arsenal player for a week now. Have you met your team-mates?
A few of them. Most of them are on international duty at the moment but I have trained with some of the younger lads and all of the staff apart from the manager who is away. It has been very positive.

Do you know any of the players on a personal level?
No. I knew Cesc a little bit because he is Spanish and Manuel Almunia just to say hello to when we play against each other, but not much.

How has training gone?
It was good. I only trained yesterday [Monday], but you can see that the ball is involved in every exercise, there is good tempo in training and I think it is good, very good.

Is it different to what you are used to?
At Everton I think we used to run a little bit more than what we do here, without the ball. But it has only been a day so it is hard to say. In the next few months I will be more suited to answer that question.

Is there any reason why you won't be available on Saturday?
No, I will be there.

What will you bring to this Arsenal team?
I hope to bring creativity, 100 per cent commitment, work and help the team to do better.

You are seen as a replacement for Fabregas or Nasri - do you see it like that?
No, I don't want to use the word replacement. They were two top players for the Club, they did really, really well in the last few years and now we have some new players coming in to try and make the same impact. I am sure we will. I don't want the fans to be expecting the same as them because every player is different. We need some time to adapt as well, but I am sure that we will give everything we can to make this team better.

What is your strongest position?
The manager asked me to play in every position [at Everton] and the good thing is to get different things from every position. I played a lot on the left, I played a lot in attacking midfield and I played in front of the back four as well. It depends what the manager wants here from me - I have not had a chance to speak to him about that yet.

This is a young squad so how can you help the younger players?
It is too early to say but I know what type of character I am and what I like done. Hopefully there are things which we can make sure we improve. I can advise and hopefully that is going to help them.

What have you made of Arsenal's Premier League campaign so far?
Well it is not the best of starts obviously. Looking at the other teams, at Manchester United and City, both have nine points already but it is early stages. The season is very long with the Premier League, Carling Cup, Champions League and FA Cup. There is still a lot of work to do, but we want to start winning on Saturday and get that right. From then hopefully everything is going to be more positive.

How strongly can Arsenal challenge for the title?
This club has to be there with them fighting until the very end, that is for sure. Nobody can be happy saying they are too good or have spent more money. We can fight, and I do not think that is the right mentality. We have unbelievable talent here and if we can use it the right way I am sure we can fight with them.

How will you feel if you make your debut on Saturday?
I am really excited. It has been a bit strange having been at the same club for six or seven years, and it is a big change. Even when you just put a different kit on. But I am so excited, I hope I can do my job well and if I have the chance to play, I will give everything.

Newly-promoted clubs are difficult to play at this stage, aren't they?
I agree. They have got no fear and they will come here thinking, 'if we get something it will be unbelievable.' It is a big risk so we need to handle the pressure and be patient, because obviously the fans want to see us winning now and we need to know how to manage the situation.

Will you have any nerves?
There are no nerves, just excitement. For me it is a great opportunity, a big challenge and I want to take it and enjoy every minute. That is what I am going to try and do.

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