Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta wants to get back to 'winning' ways against Newcastle
ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - JANUARY 20: Arsenal Head Coach Mikel Arteta attends a press conference at London Colney on January 20, 2020 in St Albans, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has admitted his priority for the club is to start 'winning' as the club gears up to host Newcastle United at the Emirates on Sunday.  

Arsenal sit in tenth place on 31 points, ten behind Chelsea in the coveted fourth spot, with 13 matches remaining. 

With the visitors from the north east coming up, followed by Everton in north London a week later, the Gunners are looking to turn draws into victories.

Discounting the impressive unbeaten run Premier League leaders Liverpool are on, Arsenal, along with Manchester City, Leicester City and Wolves, have lost the fewest number of games this term, six.

Under Arteta the Gunners have lost only one in nine - against Chelsea in his first match in charge at the Emirates in late December.

However, they have only won two matches since he took charge in his opening game at Bournemouth on Boxing Day and will be hoping to add to that total against the Magpies this weekend.

Attacking flair or defensive solidity?

When quizzed by VAVEL on whether he has traded attacking flair for defensive solidity - and what was more important to him - Arteta responded bullishly. 

"It's winning," he told VAVEL. "I don't think [we have sacrificed attacking flair for defensive solidity].

"I think we have to generate some defensive stability, but not by defending deep. I don't like that. It's by defending high and pressing the opponent as much as possible.

"But the process - together as many times as possible in the most efficient way - has to be done properly from here. If not in two passes when you arrive there, that transition is impossible to control because you are too far from the opponent.

"So we need to do that well first to after be able to generate and sustain our attacks as many times as possible during the games."

Pablo Mari update

Arteta also spoke about January loan signing Pablo Mari who hasn't played since the end of December.

The Spaniard arrived on loan from Flamengo last month, but the Gunners have the option to make the deal a permanent this summer.

Mari, who signed for Manchester City earlier in his career but failed to appear for the Etihad outfit, was deemed not ready to feature in the 0-0 draw with Burnley before the winter break.

"He's been looking good," Arteta explained. "This game will come a bit too early for him but I expected him to join in in the next week or so."

Newcastle are twelfth, on the same points as Arsenal, but with one win in their previous five, Steve Bruce's side will be looking to boost their hopes with a fine performance. 

The Arsenal boss looked back on a notable, high-scoring game between the two sides when he featured as a midfielder for the club.

Arteta recalls ten goal thriller

Arteta played in the famous 7-3 victory over Newcastle in Decemer 2012 and recalled the match in response to a question from VAVEL.

The Magpies were drawing 3-3 before Arsene Wenger's side blew them away with late goals to seal the victory in the ten goal thriller, which included a Theo Walcott treble. 

Arteta recalled: "That game for the crowd [the 7-3 against Newcastle] is great but for the manager it's not great because balance-wise we suffered.

"But I love scoring goals for sure.

"I love attacking football, but I like attacking football where you control what the opponent does to you in your own box."

The Gunners will again be without long-term absentee Kieran Tierney, but the former Celtic left-back trained with the squad during their midseason break in Dubai after dislocating his shoulder during the 3-1 victory overt West Ham in December. 

Arteta cautioned that more patience was needed over Tierney, but hailed his work ethic as 'incredible' before confirming the club are waiting for the bone and tendon to heal before he can be involved in contact sessions.

Bukayo Saka contract update

Arteta was also asked about Bukayo Saka, the precocious 17-year-old who has been filling at left-back.

The Greenford-born talent has 18 months remaining on his contract with the north London giants and are keen to offer him a revised offer to reward his eye-catching displays.

"We have Edu, Raul, Vinai and Huss who are in charge of that," Arteta insisted.  

"I'm sure we will do the right thing when players deserve to improve and extend their contract."

Arteta was also asked if he is planning for the summer transfer window  in a bid to build the squad in his image. 

"Absolutely, we have to plan," he said. "I have to tell the club where I think we can improve."

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