Mesut Ozil's Arsenal career appears to be over after he was left out of Mikel Arteta's 25-man Premier League squad.  

The 32-year-old has not featured for the Gunners since a Premier League game against West Ham on March 7 and was left out of their Europa League squad this month.  

With the transfer window now shut, Ozil - whose contract expires at the end of the season - will have to wait until January to find a way out of the club.  

Ozil sparkled fleetingly during his first two seasons at Emirates Stadium after joining from Real Madrid in 2013, before enjoying a stellar 2015-16. He provided 19 assists and created 28 'big chances' in 35 Premier League games that term, drastic improvements on his previous modest returns. 

He has failed to meet those standards ever since, though, falling to nine and then eight assists in 2016-17 and 2017-18. His big chances created slid to nine and then 13 across those same terms. 

Ozil signed a new contract in early 2018, reportedly worth £350,000 a week, and his form since has fallen away dramatically. Two assists in 24 Premier League games in 2018-19 were followed by just two again last term, when he played 18 matches in the top flight. 

He made headlines this month after offering to cover the cost of Gunnersaurus' salary in order to keep the long-standing mascot at Arsenal. 

It had been reported that Jerry Quy, who has performed matchday and event duties for 27 years in the famous green dinosaur costume, was made redundant as part of the Gunners' cost-cutting measures. 

Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who has not featured for the Gunners so far this season, has also been left out of Arteta's squad. 

Arsenal face Rapid Vienna in the Europa League on Thursday before hosting Leicester City in the Premier League on Sunday. 


Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was perplexed by how VAR dealt with a penalty claim during his side's 1-0 loss at Manchester City.

Raheem Sterling scored the only goal midway through the first half at the Etihad Stadium, where Arsenal played a full part in an absorbing contest.

Arteta bemoaned a trio of clear-cut chances that went begging before the break, City goalkeeper Ederson standing firm to twice deny Bukayo Saka before saving from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

When defending a corner in first-half stoppage time, Kyle Walker's boot came close to Gabriel's head and Arteta questioned why a more thorough video examination of the incident did not take place.

"That has to be checked," he told Sky Sports.

"They said that they checked, and I said, 'How the hell have you checked if you took two seconds to check that action?'. Obviously, there is something there."

Despite ruing those missed chances, former City assistant Arteta had plenty of praise for how his team approached the match.

"I am upset because I think we deserved more from the game," he said. "I am extremely happy with the performance we put in against a top, top team, to play with the courage we did and to make it as difficult as we did, I cannot demand much more from the players.

"When you have three big chances in this game, you have to score. I think the three of them were really good chances and then the situation we have with Kyle Walker from the corner."

Arteta added: "We've come a long way. I'm extremely happy. I was in that dressing room for four years and I know what it takes for a team to do what we've done here."

Raheem Sterling's fourth goal in his past three games got Manchester City back to winning ways in the Premier League with a 1-0 victory over Arsenal.

Sterling sat out England's games against Wales, Belgium and Denmark with a hamstring niggle but was back in action to score decisively midway through the first half at the Etihad Stadium.

Arsenal, led by Pep Guardiola's former assistant Mikel Arteta, beat City in last season's FA Cup semi-final and again asked plenty of questions of their hosts, for whom goalkeeper Ederson excelled.

But Guardiola's side held on for a timely triumph after taking a solitary point from encounters with Leicester City and Leeds United before the international break.

Riyad Mahrez, stationed on the right of a fluid City attack, was prominently involved in the opening exchanges - firing wide inside the opening minute before digging out a cross for the returning Sergio Aguero to head over.

The former Leicester City favourite's astute in-field pass released Aguero to run at the Arsenal defence in the 23rd minute, with Phil Foden's resulting shot saved by Bernd Leno and tucked home on the rebound by Sterling.

Bukayo Saka danced through the City backline to force a stop from Ederson as Arsenal sought a swift response, although Leno had to be alert to thwart Mahrez at his near post before the half hour and denied Foden after his defence played into trouble.

It was a game to busy both goalkeepers, with Ederson springing into action when Saka and then Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang burst into the City box.

Guardiola sent on Ilkay Gundogan, returning after a positive coronavirus test, in place of Aguero in an attempt to shore up midfield with Arsenal in the ascendancy after the break.

Nevertheless, free-kicks from David Luiz and Nicolas Pepe that did not trouble Ederson were the closest they came.

On an increasingly rare foray forward, City wing-back Joao Cancelo almost forced David Luiz to prod into his own net. In the end, Sterling's solitary strike would prove enough.

Mikel Arteta knows Thomas Partey is expected to hit the ground running at Arsenal but is confident the high-profile arrival can adapt quickly to the Premier League. 

The Gunners beat the clock to sign Partey from Atletico Madrid on deadline day after triggering the Ghana midfielder's release clause, reportedly set at £45million. 

Partey played regularly in the Champions League and LaLiga for Atleti, winning the Europa League and Super Cup during his time with Diego Simeone's side. 

The signing of the 27-year-old is seen as somewhat of a coup for Arsenal, though Arteta acknowledges the new recruit will be under pressure to make an immediate impact.

"Probably [the expectations will be high], there is a lot of expectations but we have to give always time players to adapt," he said of Partey, who averaged 2.4 tackles, 1.7 interceptions 7.9 recoveries per game in LaLiga last season.  

"LaLiga and the Premier League are completely different, the style of play of Atletico Madrid and ours, there are some big differences there as well.  

"What isn't in question is the quality of the player, the level he's been playing at for the last five or six years and that obviously will be a big help.  

"He has the support of all the coaching staff, the players and fans. I think that adaptation will be quick."

Arteta said the signing of Partey represented an important one for a squad that is a mixture of young talent and players in the latter stages of their careers. 

"Well, we need a balance between a lot of young players we have in some breakthrough development phases, and others in the peak or twilight of their career," he said during a media conference.

"We believe he was the right recruitment for us in terms of age, in terms of history, his career, where he's been educated, the amount of experience he has, the quality he has to adapt to our game and this very competitive league we are involved in. 

"And also because of the numbers, we were very short in midfield, we needed to strengthen there." 

Arteta also stated the flexibility of Partey to play several roles in midfield was a big influence in Arsenal's pursuit. 

"I think he's going to give us more versatility in our way of playing, he can play in two or three different positions as well when we're able to change formations, or game plans against certain opponents," he said.  

"I think he'll give us something we don't have in the team." 

Speaking at a news conference previewing Arsenal's trip to Manchester City, Arteta explained why Mesut Ozil was left out of the Gunners' Europa League squad. 

Ozil turned 32 this week, the same age as team-mate Sokratis Papastathopoulos who was also omitted. 

Arteta said he spoke to both players, whose futures appear to lie away from north London, about his decision but insists their age had little to do with it. 

"I spoke to them, I wanted to tell them face to face before releasing the squad and I explained my reasons why, the numbers we had," he said. 

"It was really difficult for me to tell them that. We just had restrictions, the rules. [I said to] respect the decision, train in the best possible way, help the team how they can and see in December. 

"I don't think age is the big concern. When you are young and you have to accept a decision like that it's really tough, because you want to see your future building and evolving and it's a big stone in your way.  

"It's about how you react to disappointment, try to look at overall picture and make the right decision, that's all." 

Kevin De Bruyne is set to miss a number of games for Manchester City due to injury, Pep Guardiola announced on Friday.

Midfield maestro De Bruyne went off in the second half of Belgium's 2-1 loss to England last weekend and sat out their 2-1 victory over Iceland on Wednesday.

Guardiola confirmed ahead of Saturday's meeting with Arsenal that the 29-year-old is set for a spell on the sidelines, though he was unsure exactly how long it will be.

Asked about the condition of his players after they returned from the international break, Guardiola said: "Everyone came back a little bit better than the time before, because the previous time [Joao] Cancelo, Bernardo Silva and other were injured and couldn't play the beginning of the season.

"Unfortunately Kevin is out, but the rest they came back well. I don't think [De Bruyne's injury] is much, but for the next games he will be out."

The City boss acknowledged that injuries are inevitable with the congested schedule and did not blame the international fixtures for the loss of De Bruyne.

"I never complain about the international games. I know how important it is for the players to play for their countries, it's an honour and a privilege," Guardiola said.

"UEFA and FIFA defend their own tournaments. We always want players to come back fit but sometimes they can get injured training with us. I am more of the opinion that players are injured because we demand so much of them after tough seasons.

"That's why there arrives a moment when the body says it's enough and they go down injured.

"Bernardo and the other players, Joao, they could not have a normal pre-season, they were injured, to get rhythm in these games was good for them."

City have been without all-time leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero since June due to a knee injury but he could make his first appearance of the season against Arsenal.

However, Gabriel Jesus, who has missed each of the team's past four matches, will continue to sit out.

"Sergio is training well and we're happy," Guardiola said. "Every team needs a striker, and we played without them in the first days. He's been training well and we're happy to see him back on the pitch after a long, long time.

"[Jesus] was injured. In some muscles you can take a risk and there are others where you cannot. He has an injury in the front part of his leg. If there was another incident we would lose him for a very long time. I don't know [how long he will be out]."

Saturday's game at the Etihad Stadium will see Guardiola go up against his former assistant Mikel Arteta, who has impressed the Catalan with his work in north London.

"Maybe we should clarify who is the master and who is the apprentice?" said Guardiola.

"We didn't have any doubts about what he's doing in a short period. He's settled really well and the way his team is playing right now is perfect for the quality they have.

"He was able to get Arsenal back in the position they were a long, long time ago. He's doing really well in all competitions and he's a competitor, a fighter, [with] clear things on the pitch.

"All the people who love him are more than happy with what he's doing in London."

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola was disappointed to lose Mikel Arteta from his backroom staff and following his start to life at Arsenal it is easy to see why.

While Arteta was unable to guide Arsenal into the top six in the Premier League last season, he secured Europa League qualification by winning his first trophy less than eight months into the job in the form of the FA Cup.

It is not just silverware that has appeased a large section of the Gunners faithful, though. It is a club favourite returning and attempting to implement a style of football that supporters became accustomed to during the illustrious reign of Arsene Wenger.

With an aesthetically pleasing approach, Arsenal are once again looking capable of mixing it with the best teams in the Premier League.

A serious test of their mettle awaits on Saturday; Arteta travels back to the Etihad Stadium to take on his former mentor Guardiola.

Sharing the ball

It was quickly evident that Arteta was working towards an improvement in Arsenal's playing style after replacing Unai Emery last December, and there has been no let up.

Since Arteta's first game at the helm on Boxing Day 2019, the Gunners have scored 11 Premier League goals following sequences of at least 10 passes – more than any other team in the top flight over the same period. That means over a quarter of all the Premier League goals scored by Arsenal under Arteta (40) have been preceded by a sequence involving a minimum of 10 passes.

City have accumulated just six such goals in the top flight over the same timeframe, while Arsenal's 11 has already matched their total from the entirety of Emery's tenure. Across all competitions the Gunners' haul rises to 14, which is still two more than Guardiola's side.

It appears clear that the possession-based, passing approach favoured and honed by Guardiola has rubbed off on Arteta. However, his team have also begun to prove themselves capable of impressing even without that ball.

On a run

The Gunners have averaged just 36.4 per cent possession in their past six games against 'big six' opposition in all competitions but have been defeated in only one of those matches – a 2-1 loss to Liverpool in the Premier League this season.

During that stretch Arsenal overcame City and Chelsea to win the FA Cup, while also beating Liverpool to the Community Shield and eliminating them from the EFL Cup, both in penalty shoot-outs.

Opta's expected goals (xG) model suggests it could well have been a different story, though. In those six games, Arsenal outperformed their xG (5.82) by two goals and the six they conceded was five fewer than their xG against (11.19).

So while Arteta's men have been on an impressive run against 'big six' opposition, the sustainability of that form can certainly be called into question. It will no doubt be hoped the signing of defensive midfielder Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid for £45million will help them take a step towards achieving that.

Pep's Kryptonite

A factor that runs in Arsenal's favour ahead of the trip to the Stadium, however, is their use of a back three.

When faced with a three- or five-man defence, City tend to struggle. In their past 10 such matches, Guardiola's team have been defeated on five occasions – they have also lost three of their previous four.

The Gunners used a back three in their FA Cup semi-final against City in July and managed to seal a 2-0 victory despite only having 29 per cent of possession.

City were wasteful on that occasion, with only one of their 16 shots hitting the target. Arsenal had a quarter of the attempts on goal, but every single one required Ederson to make save. They only had an xG of 1.09 (City's was 1.68) but proved incredibly clinical and benefited from Guardiola's side failing to match them in that regard.

The Gunners will seemingly once again need to be deadly in front of goal and defend astutely for Arteta to get the better of his former mentor.

His plan for Arsenal and the influence of Guardiola is clear, but further improvement still appears to be required if they are to fully re-establish themselves among the Premier League's elite.

Mikel Arteta said it was a "really difficult decision" to leave Mesut Ozil out of Arsenal's Europa League squad, as he welcomed the "buzz" created by the signing of Thomas Partey.

Ozil has been outcast under Gunners boss Arteta this season and the Germany World Cup winner's long-term future was cast into further doubt when he failed to make their European party.

It remains to be seen if Ozil, who turned 32 on Thursday, will be included in Arsenal's 25-man squad list for the Premier League, which clubs have until October 20 to submit.

Asked about the decision to leave the midfielder out of the Europa League selection, Arteta said: "Well he wasn't the only one not in the squad.

"It was a really difficult decision for me to make because to leave players out of the squad at that level when they know they cannot get involved is really tough.

"I don't like it at all but the decision has to be made because we exceeded the amount of foreign players [we can include] and unfortunately we had to make that decision."

Ozil has been in steady decline since providing 19 assists and creating 28 big chances in 35 Premier League outings during the 2015-16 season, dipping to nine, eight, two and two in terms of assists in the following four campaigns.

Arsene Wenger was the man to bring Ozil to the Emirates Stadium from Real Madrid and this week described Ozil's situation as a "waste", while he told talkSPORT on Thursday: "Mesut Ozil is a great player and a creative player.

"But you have to balance the team because on the defensive side of it, it is not his strength. Mikel Arteta has gone for a team with counter-pressing and who play high up, and everybody has to work hard so that is a bit of handicap for him.

"But he is not a bad character – he is a good guy. It just depends what kind of football you want to play."

Asked about Wenger's comments, Arteta replied: "I think you have to try and find a way to fit every player with their qualities - this is our job and our responsibility with the players you have to manage."

While Ozil is on the outside looking in, Partey arrived from Atletico Madrid on transfer deadline day after the Gunners paid his reported £45million release clause.

The Ghana international adds quality to Arsenal's midfield and Arteta is excited by his addition, even if there were a few nervy moments waiting for the deal to be completed.

"There is a buzz around the place, the fans are really happy. I've seen some positive reactions after we brought him," he said.

"It's the same with the team, same with the staff, he's a player we have rated for a long time and we have managed to bring him I think he's going to be a really important addition to the team.

"Up to the last minutes it's always a risk - a lot of things happened at the same time. There's a lot of paperwork to do, so it was a challenge to do it in 24 hours. In the end we managed to do it."

Arteta, who said he hopes Atletico can "respect" Arsenal opting to pay Partey's release clause, accepts there may be a period of adaption required.

"I think it's something individual, depending on many factors - how they settle here in the city with their families, whether they speak the language or not, whether their qualities fit the team or Premier League.

"You see some adapting very quickly, others need more time," he added.

This weekend sees Arteta once again come up against Manchester City, where he spent four years as assistant to Pep Guardiola.

Talks over a new deal for Guardiola, whose contract expires at the end of the season, have reportedly not yet begun.

Asked if that was a surprise, Arteta replied at his pre-match news conference: "I don't know - it's up to him. The last time I heard an interview he was really happy there, talking about the future, the signings they have done recently. I want to see him happy."

Thomas Partey moved to Arsenal to give himself a fresh challenge as the former Atletico Madrid star aims to help the Gunners return to the top.

Partey signed for Arsenal on deadline day after the Premier League club decided to trigger the £45million (€50m) release clause in the 27-year-old's Atleti contract.

The Ghana midfielder was a long-term target for Arsenal and is now aiming to push the club onto the next level in Mikel Arteta's first full season.

"Yes, of course," Partey told a news conference when asked if he can win trophies at Arsenal.

"It's something that is difficult and we all know that it's difficult, but we're working towards it and I think we are ready. We have to go all out and try to achieve all of that ourselves.

"I've seen that everyone has been excited and everyone is willing to win something and all the trophies that come their way. I think that's the goal and objective for everyone here and that's my goal also.

"This is our new objective. That's the objective of the club, of myself, and I think that we have to get back to where we belong.

"I think it was a new challenge for me. I've always wanted to play in the top leagues and the Premier League is one of the top leagues, so I'm happy to be here.

"I think it's a great challenge, I want to experience new challenges and also in a great family like Arsenal. I am ready to give it my all and try to help this great club come back to where they belong.

"I think there is no pressure on me. I like to challenge myself. I like new challenges as I said and it's all about learning fast, learning quickly how it goes and you just get used to it and everything works."

Partey could be in line to make his debut on Saturday when Arsenal take on Manchester City, who they beat in the FA Cup semi-finals in July.

"For me it's a great feeling. I like to play in the big matches, but it all depends on the coach and whether he wants me to play on Saturday or not," Partey said of possibly facing Pep Guardiola's side.

"It depends on him. I need to get used to the squad and then train with them before we can see what we will happen.

"I still have much to develop, I still have more to learn with this new family. I will have to learn more things to achieve all my goals, and to achieve the goals of the club as well.

"I think I have to be quick, make sure that I learn everything as fast as I can. In football, I have to make sure I do everything on the training ground and make sure Mikel sees that I am ready to play for him."

Sheffield United are close to sealing a deal to sign Liverpool striker Rhian Brewster as they prepare to face Arsenal and Mikel Arteta, who has strong admiration for the Blades.

A deal worth £23.5million has reportedly been agreed by Sheffield United and Liverpool, who would retain a sell-on clause on Brewster along with a buyback agreement that will be valid for three years.

Blades boss Chris Wilder could not confirm the deal was done to sign the 20-year-old when he spoke ahead of Sunday's away Premier League match at Arsenal, but suggested talks were at a late stage.

"We have been in negotiations with Liverpool for a while, he has been on our radar and discussions between the player and the club are still ongoing," he said.

"We are down the line and when that happens I can confirm it. We are always trying to bring better players into the group.

"I looked at last season and we have to improve in that area, we have to be more clinical and bring in more competition at the top of the pitch.

"The players are as disappointed as me with the start [to this season] - they don't need a lift but bringing a better player into the group will improve us."

Despite Sheffield United having zero points from their opening three Premier League games, Arteta has long been impressed with their methods.

"Incredible," he said of the job Wilder did when they finished ninth last season.

"I start to analyse his team two years to understand some of the things he was doing and I think him and the coaching staff have done a really, really good job." 

Arteta added: "Not just for the way the play because it is a very clear style, but for the culture they have created around the club, this feeling that you can sense around the team and how they compete.

"I think it is remarkable what they have done. I was told by someone that we had to have a look at them, and I always like to see different trends, different ways of playing, formations, structures, patterns.

"I was impressed with some of the things they were doing. It is always good to have this information.

"The margins in the league of winning, drawing and losing are really small and the details are crucial, but they have generated big chances every game and they've been really unlucky in my opinion not to get anything out of those games.

"The season they had, the way they have evolved as a team since they joined the Premier League, has been unbelievable, the work that the manager has done with the resources they have is remarkable.

"We know how difficult it is to play against them and need to be really alert - we have to play at our best again."

Mikel Arteta concedes the next few days represent "a crucial moment" in Arsenal's season as the club push to conclude deals before the transfer window closes.

Houssem Aouar, Thomas Partey and Jorginho are among the players who have been heavily linked with moves to Arsenal before Monday's transfer deadline.

Regardless of the outcome of ongoing negotiations, Arteta insists he is happy with the way the club have handled their business but knows how significant this period is.

"It is a crucial moment because in the end it defines the people, the players, the balance and the quality that you're going to have for the rest of the season," Arteta said ahead of Sunday's home Premier League game against Sheffield United.

"We need to make some decisions in the next three days. Everything has been delayed so much, not just for us but probably every team because of the context that we are in at the moment. 

"We will try to make the best possible decisions and at the end, whatever we have, we go for it fully convinced and prepared to have a good season.

"I am very happy because the way we are acting and the way we are approaching and doing the processes around the market, around the squad.

"The communication link that we have at the moment between myself, Edu, the board and the ownership is really good and I'm really satisfied. 

"We are all trying our best to improve the team and achieve the goals that we want. Sometimes in a deal a lot of things are happening and you have three or four parties that have to be involved in it.

"But we are trying our best and I am really happy with the way this link and communication is flowing at the moment.

"[If we don't sign someone] then it's because we can't do more. We are trying our maximum, maximising our resources with full support from the owners for what we are trying to achieve. It's just whether we can do it or not. 

"Believe me, we will try our best and we will be trying to give our players the best possible environment. If it will be with one more player, two more players or two players less, we will keep doing the same."

Arteta had no specific updates when asked about Lyon star Aouar and gave the same response when it came to departures, amid speculation over the futures of Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi and Sead Kolasinac.

He added: "I am very confident in what we are trying to do internally. [I am getting] clarity and support from everybody at the club to try and improve the team if we can. 

"But most importantly as well, to get the right balance in the squad, for now and the way we want to evolve the squad in the future.

"We are all very much aligned but I'm afraid that I cannot give you any updates or news.

"I will give you an update with any player when we have an update to give, at the moment, unfortunately, there is nothing concrete for any player."

Mikel Arteta praised Arsenal's "exceptional" performance against Liverpool in their EFL Cup last-16 tie and says winning at Anfield is a big step forward for his side.

Three days after losing 3-1 at the same venue in the Premier League, Arsenal prevailed on penalties in Thursday's match following a goalless draw after 90 minutes.

It is the third time Arteta has got the better of Jurgen Klopp in four managerial meetings this year, two of those victories coming via a shoot-out following August's Community Shield success.

And while acknowledging Arsenal still have a long way to go before reaching Liverpool's level, Arteta was delighted with his much-changed side's display on Merseyside.

"I am really happy with the performance. I think the boys were exceptional. We corrected a few things from Monday and it was superb," he told Sky Sports.

"We competed much better, the level of aggression we had, the way we pressed them really high was exceptional.

"To come here and play with the determination and courage is a big step forward for the team. They are on the right path.

"The gap towards Liverpool is still big. We will keep improving to try and reach their level."

Bernd Leno was the hero for the visitors as he made seven saves in normal time and kept out penalties from Divock Origi and Harry Wilson in the subsequent shoot-out.

Arsenal allowed Emiliano Martinez to leave for Aston Villa last month and Arteta is glad that his faith in Leno has paid off.

"Leno was really good. When we needed him we had him," he said. "You need a top individual performance to win at Anfield and that is what we had tonight.

"I really have belief in Bernd. I know him really well and what he can give us. We didn't want Emiliano Martinez to go but it was probably the right thing for both parties to do."

Leno, one of three players to keep their starting spot from Arsenal's league defeat at Anfield earlier this week, is grateful to have been given the full support of his manager.

"The club has always given me the feeling I was the number one, I am the number one and will be the number one," he said. 

"My job is to prove it every week and I feel I have done that tonight.

"It is not easy to come to same place with a big disappointment from Monday. We analysed the game and the manager found the right words to lift us."

The quarter-final draw took place shortly after full-time, with Arsenal paired against holders Manchester City in the last eight.

Arteta spent three seasons as assistant to Pep Guardiola during an unprecedented period of success for City and knows exactly what to expect in December's home tie.

"I was waiting and enjoying the victory and then we have to play Manchester City. It is what it is," he said. 

"There are a lot of tough teams left in the competition and we will prepare for it."

Mikel Arteta will face former mentor Pep Guardiola after Arsenal were drawn against Manchester City in the EFL Cup quarter-finals.

Arsenal manager Arteta spent three seasons as assistant to Guardiola during an unprecedented period of success for City before swapping jobs last December.

The sides have met twice since then, with Arsenal exacting revenge for a 3-0 Premier League defeat towards the end of last season with a 2-0 win in the 2019-20 FA Cup semi-finals.

Arsenal beat Liverpool on penalties after a goalless last-16 tie on Thursday, while City saw off Burnley 3-0 to stay on course for a fifth EFL Cup triumph in six years.

Elsewhere, Manchester United will travel to Everton in another all-Premier League tie and Tottenham's reward for knocking out London rivals Chelsea is a trip to Championship outfit Stoke City.

Brentford are the other second-tier side remaining and host Newcastle United – penalty shoot-out winners against Newport County on Wednesday – for a place in the semi-finals.

The last-eight ties will be contested over one leg on the week commencing December 21.

Mikel Arteta said from the outset that Arsenal could forget about achieving overnight success during his reign, but he made it clear the "top trophies" were his and the club's target.

Since walking back into Emirates Stadium last December, having retired as a player with the Gunners three and a half years earlier, Arteta has begun to stamp his mark.

This week has seen comparisons drawn between Arteta and Liverpool's championship-winning manager Klopp, and the similarities between the state of their respective clubs when they each took over.

Liverpool were in a nosedive under Brendan Rodgers, while Arsenal's decline had begun under Arsene Wenger, and Unai Emery proved incapable of plugging the holes in north London's sinking ship.

Yet Arteta has now managed Arsenal in 23 Premier League games, and his record in that time beats Klopp's start in Liverpool's top job.

As Opta data illustrates, Arsenal appear to be taking small but significant steps forward under their Spanish boss.


Jamie Carragher, the former Liverpool and England defender, was a voice of reason this week after Arsenal came in for flak when losing 3-1 to Klopp's men at Anfield in the Premier League.

The teams will meet again in the EFL Cup on Thursday.

Carragher highlighted the fact Liverpool may be on top of the English game now, but that is only because of season-by-season progress since Klopp's arrival.

"I think it's almost an identical job to what Klopp came into," Carragher said on Sky Sports. "Forget challenging for the league; they weren't even qualifying for the Champions League.

"The first thing for Arsenal is to get back into the Champions League. That was the big thing Klopp did in his first season. Can Arsenal do that?"

As Carragher said, "Liverpool are a few years down the line. It's a completely different remit for Mikel Arteta."

Klopp took over at Liverpool after Rodgers' side made a poor start to the 2015-16 season, stepping in early in October to steady a side who finished sixth with just 62 points in the previous campaign, having been second and title challengers in 2013-14.

Arsenal, who were habitual top-four finishers for much of Wenger's tenure, dawdled to sixth in the Frenchman's final season, with a 63-point haul.

Emery's arrival sparked a minor improvement, but 70 points and fifth in 2018-19 was followed by a wretched start to the next campaign, resulting in the SOS to Arteta.


Arsenal had won just five of 17 Premier League games when Arteta was appointed last season, drawing seven and losing five.

The new boss shrewdly took a watching brief from the stands and allowed caretaker Freddie Ljungberg to take the team for the first game after his arrival, a 0-0 draw with Everton.

Arteta's record in the league since then shows that Arsenal won nine, drew six and lost five with him at the helm last term, a marked move in the right direction, followed by two wins from three this season. Their FA Cup triumph only endorsed the sense of progress.

Arteta's current haul of 39 points from 23 games beats Klopp's 36 from his first 23 league matches with Liverpool.

Last season's statistics are inevitably flavoured by the Emery reign and show where Arsenal's performances in recent campaigns have tailed off.

Their sequences of 10 or more passes in open play slumped to 441 across the campaign, having been at 535 in the 2018-19 season. That total was 504 when the Gunners finished second in 2015-16 and an arguably indulgent 635 in Wenger's final campaign.

Totals of high turnovers – where sequences in open play begin within 40 metres of the opposition goal – were also down to a five-year low of 139 incidences. The same applied to pressed sequences – where opponents have three or fewer passes in a sequence that ends within 40 metres of their own goal – which fell to 418, down by 114 from the 2016-17 campaign when Arsenal pulled in 75 points.

An early look at this season's numbers provides little evidence yet to suggest the high turnovers and pressed sequences will dramatically change this season, but the passing numbers certainly catch the eye.

After three games, Arsenal have racked up 49 10-plus passing sequences, suggesting they could end the season well into the 500s, if not above.


Much is made of Liverpool's high press, and their total of 686 pressed sequences last season emphasised how entrenched that is in the Klopp masterplan for success.

But passing and ball possession have been similarly significant in the rise of the Reds under their German manager.

If Arteta is looking at making Arsenal as effective as Klopp's troops with the ball, he is sure to have pored over Liverpool's rate of progression under Klopp.

In the season that Liverpool began under Rodgers and finished with Klopp in charge, the Reds managed just 375 sequences of 10-plus passes.

That rose season by season, almost doubling from the starting point to 719 in the 2018-19 campaign, dipping only slightly to 682 last term as Liverpool won the Premier League by 18 points.

Arteta cannot transform Arsenal in a flash and will need time to impose his methods, but Liverpool's 252 high turnovers last season – up sharply from 195 in 2018-19 – helped them immensely on the road to success.

Liverpool are well ahead of Arsenal in turnovers, presses and passing sequences this season, but that is only to be expected. They are years ahead in terms of their manager's project.

What is important for Arsenal is that they make gains this season, and then the next, and then the season after that.

As Carragher said: "I actually like a lot of what Mikel Arteta's doing.

"I don't think that's a top-four group, but the way he's organising them, what he's actually doing, I think they could get into the top four because of his management.

"I don't think any manager would be getting any more out of that Arsenal team."

Mikel Arteta expects a busy finish to the transfer window, but the Arsenal manager had no update regarding Houssem Aouar.

Arsenal have been heavily linked with a move for Lyon star Aouar ahead of the transfer window closing on October 5.

Asked about Aouar after a 3-1 Premier League loss to Liverpool on Monday, Arteta had no update, but he predicted a frantic finish to the transfer period.

"We don't have any news on new players and either with players that might leave the football club," he told a news conference.

"It's a week to go, I think it's going to be really busy for other clubs because not much business has been done.

"Let's see what happens."

Arteta added: "I think it will be busy for the Premier League. Busy for us, I don't know how it is going to happen."

Arsenal's loss to Liverpool was their first of the Premier League season and they sit fifth in the table.

Mikel Arteta admits Liverpool showed Arsenal exactly how far they still have to go before they can compete with the elite in his side's 3-1 defeat at Anfield on Monday.

Arsenal took the lead with their first attempt on target - and with just their second touch of the ball in the opposition box - but were soon pegged back by the Premier League champions.

Sadio Mane equalised 147 seconds later and Andy Robertson, at fault for Alexandre Lacazette's opener, put the Reds in front before recent signing Diogo Jota sealed the points late on.

Arteta had instigated wins over Liverpool in his previous two meetings as Arsenal boss, but he accepts Jurgen Klopp's men were much the better side in this latest tussle.

"We were in the game for a big part of it. The reality is they are superior to us in many aspects. You could see that is some phases," he told Sky Sports.

"I'm really happy with the way the team competed and kept believing. This is the standard we have to reach. 

"We are on a different journey. They've been together five years, we've had a few months."

Lacazette wasted a glorious opportunity to make it 2-2 in the second half, failing to clip the ball past Alisson when played through on goal.

It proved a costly miss as Jota, who had only been on the field for eight minutes, fired home on his league debut for the club to confirm a first defeat of the season for Arsenal.

"I had a feeling we were going to have chances in the second half," Arteta said. "We had probably the best chance of the game. 

"You have to put them in the net when you have chances against them. We have a long way to go in many things."

Lacazette has scored in each of Arsenal's opening three league games and Arteta praised the France international for his display on Merseyside.

"Obviously he had the best chance in the game to make it 2-2 and again put us in a really strong position," the Arsenal manager added at his post-match news conference.

"But he had a great game,  put an incredible performance again and I'm pleased with him. They all want to win. This is what I like, the mindset of the team. They want to go to any ground and they want to win.

"The boys were really disappointed to lose the game - they really believed we could come here and do it. For large periods of the game we were right there."

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