United Kingdom– Arsenal
manager Mikel Arteta said he still only wants the best for former employers
Manchester City, even though a European ban for the English champions could
give the Gunners a route into next season’s Champions League.
A 4-0 win over Newcastle on Sunday lifted Arsenal up to 10th
in the Premier League, but just six points adrift of Tottenham in fifth.
City’s two-season ban handed down by UEFA on Friday means
fifth will be enough to secure a Champions League place unless the champions
succeed in overturning that sanction at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Arteta, who left City to take his first senior managerial
role at the Emirates in December, could now be the beneficiary of his former
“It’s very difficult. I want the best for Manchester
City, the best for Pep (Guardiola) and the players. The only thing I want for
them is positive and good things,” said the Spaniard.
“I just want to do for Arsenal the best I can.”
Victory was just the second in eight league games since
Arteta took charge and there was plenty of encouragement for the 37-year-old in
Arsenal’s second half performance after an all too familiar subdued first 45
“We talked before the game that we wanted to turn draws
into wins,” added Arteta after a run of six draws in eight games.
“The first half it was a little bit slow, but the way
they play with low block, you can get frustrated. We improved much more in the
– Explosive Arsenal –
Arteta handed Eddie Nketiah his first Premier League start
up front at the expense of the out-of-form Alexandre Lacazette.
The 20-year-old missed his big chance to make an impact when
he hit the bar from Nicolas Pepe’s cut-back in an explosive start to the second
period from Arsenal.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang showed his young apprentice how to
pounce in front of goal as he rose highest to power home Pepe’s floated cross
on 54 minutes.
One of the revelations of Arteta’s early days in charge has
been Bukayo Saka’s performances as a makeshift left-back.
No Arsenal player has created more goals than the
18-year-old this season and Saka nutmegged Valentino Lazaro before teeing up
Pepe to fire home the hosts’ second from close range.
“He takes responsibility, he takes risks in the final
third. He is a player who wants to make an impact, he has courage,” said
Newcastle have scored just 24 goals in 26 league games this
season and their lack of a goal threat was obvious as they chased the game in
the final half hour.
But Steve Bruce was most disappointed with their defending
as they conceded twice more in the closing stages.
“The goals were gave away were not like us, it was too
easy,” said Bruce. “We did not start the half like we should’ve done.
We’ve been sloppy and given away awful goals.”
Lacazette replaced Nketiah five minutes from time and made a
huge impact to give his confidence a much-needed boost.
Firstly, the Frenchman crossed for Mesut Ozil, whose tame
shot squirmed through Martin Dubravka’s grasp.
Luck then shone on Lacazette to end a nine-game goal drought
as his right-footed shot flicked off his left foot and flew into the top corner
in the fifth minute of stoppage time.