Mikel Arteta sends Arsenal stars ‘commitment’ message with Gunners looking to secure top spot at Christmas

Mikel Arteta sends Arsenal stars ‘commitment’ message with Gunners looking to secure top spot at Christmas

Mikel Arteta has told his Arsenal players to forget about the World Cup as they prepare for their final Premier League game before the break.

Arsenal are currently top of the table and will stay there for Christmas Day if they match Manchester City’s result on Saturday. The Gunners are travelling to Wolves, while City host Brentford.

Arteta has stressed the importance of being top at the break, but he has the added difficulty of players potentially having one eye on the World Cup.

Players found out this week if they’d be playing in the finals, with the Gunners set to lose 10 squad members to the tournament.

Arteta, however, does not want any of those travelling to Qatar to be thinking about that as they prepare for Saturday’s clash at Molineux.

“We discussed the topic before and I always say to them if you’re thinking about an injury then probably it’s going to happen,” said Arteta. “I don’t know if it will happen today, the next day or the first day of preparation for the World Cup.

“So get it out of your mind, you are professional athletes, this risk is always there for you so commit yourself to your job and every action and the risk will be less. That’s it.”

One of those heading to Qatar is Bukayo Saka, who will be playing his first major tournament for England since Euro 2020.

Saka suffered heartbreak at that tournament, missing the decisive penalty in the final against Italy at Wembley, but Arteta believes it has strengthened his bond with Arsenal.

“Experiences make you tougher and better if they don’t get you down too much,” he said. “I think he reacted in a great way. I think the support and the recognition that he got from world football was great and it helped him to develop into a better player.

“First of all Gareth [Southgate] and all the coaching staff were very supportive and good with him. That was really important because it was the first period after it. He’s been in every stadium in this country and the way they treat him and the way they show appreciation about him is great.

“He needed that. He’s embraced it and now he’s a better player because of it.”