Mikel Arteta on Arsenal players wanting ‘revenge’ on Troy Deeney


Mikel Arteta responds to Arsenal players wanting 'revenge' on Troy Deeney

The Watford skipper has been openly critical of Arsenal’s players in the past (Picture: Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta has played down suggestions that Arsenal’s players will be extra motivated against Watford due to comments Troy Deeney has made about them in the past.

The Gunners have nothing to play for going into the final Premier League match of the season – with European qualification now hinging on winning the FA Cup final – while Watford need to better Aston Villa’s result to stay up.

But plenty of Arsenal fans are hoping they can have the last laugh over Deeney and Watford and still remember his infamous barb in 2017 when he claimed the side lacked ‘cojones’.

Troy Deeney during Arsenal v Watford - Premier League

Deeney has suggested that Arsenal do not like physical battles against him (Picture: Getty)

Arteta was not at the club three years ago, but a number of players in the squad were, though Arteta does not believe they will have revenge on the agenda and were not truly affected by the remarks.

Asked if Arsenal’s players will want to send Watford down after Deeney’s comments, Arteta replied: ‘No, I think revenge, or when you are annoyed and when you want to put things right, it’s probably because you feel that what is being said is right.

‘If you don’t feel it is right, then it doesn’t justify the way you approach the game or the way you fight, it doesn’t have to affect you.

‘So I think that is a very personal thing.’

Probed on whether Deeney was wrong to say what he did, Arteta continued: ‘I don’t know. Every player is free to say whatever they want, so I cannot comment on every opinion.’

On whether his side will be 100% focused on the game despite having nothing to play for, Arteta said: ‘That’s the way we will prepare the game, that’s for sure. We need to know the responsibility we have towards the other clubs as well and the responsibility we have just wearing that shirt in any game. It has to be to win the football game and prepare.

Mikel Arteta responds to Arsenal players wanting 'revenge' on Troy Deeney

Arteta was speaking at Thursday’s pre-match press conference via Zoom (Picture: YouTube)

‘Mentally if you are not ready or your level of implication is not 100% then you have a problem.’

Arteta also insists he will name a strong line-up for the match, despite Arsenal’s priority being the FA Cup final now, and feels the club owe it to the other teams in the relegation battle to give their all.

He added: ‘I think that is our responsibility. A strong side doesn’t mean that players who have played less participate, for me it’s more about how we approach the game and how you get into that game to win the game. There is no 50:50s, no lack of intensity or anything like that. We can’t do that.’

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