Mikel Arteta makes Xavi and Andres Iniesta comparison after Arsenal told they need more physical players

·2-min read
Mikel Arteta makes Xavi and Andres Iniesta comparison after Arsenal told they need more physical players

Mikel Arteta has dismissed the suggestion that Arsenal need to be more physical to compete with Manchester City and win trophies.

The Gunners have failed to win any of their last four games which has led to Manchester City knocking them off top spot in the Premier League.

City are now a point clear of Arsenal, who play Chelsea on Tuesday, and they have a game in hand too.

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After losing 4-1 to City at Etihad Stadium last week, it was argued that Arsenal needed more physicality in their squad to cope with the likes of Erling Haaland and Rodri.

When asked about the debate on Monday, Arteta brought up City’s title winners of 2017-18 and Pep Guardiola’s famous Barcelona side. He responded: “It’s a great question. You think you might go in that direction.

“Maybe 100 points. Playing with Fernandinho, David Silva, Bernardo Silva, [Sergio] Aguero, [Raheem] Sterling – 100 points. Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta, [Lionel] Messi, Pedro – six titles.

“Good players. Incredible players. In the right moment they step up. They love what they do. They create the right chemistry.

“You have them and they’re [also] two metres tall? Even better. Great. Are they good enough technically? Are they sharp enough? Can they turn?

“The perfect machine, that’s what we all want. Give me 24 of those. I think we are all looking for the perfect squad and hopefully we can find it.”

The strength of City’s squad has been underlined during the title run-in, with Pep Guardiola’s side coping well despite injuries to Phil Foden and Nathan Ake.

City were also without Kevin De Bruyne on Sunday, but managed to grind out a 2-1 win at Fulham that sent them top of the Premier League.

“Centimetre by centimetre on the day, yes, but it takes time to build the perfect team,” said Arteta. “You don’t do it in one, two or three.

“That’s seven years’ worth of process with a lot of good decisions and we are trying to do something different. You cannot copy and paste.

“At the Emirates we played the same and we could have beat them. But at the end, we didn’t. Why? Because when they raised that level a little more, boom, they took the game in individual moments. That’s what we have to recognise and not accept. Do not accept it.”