PREMIER LEAGUE

Arsenal: Arteta wants “role model” David Luiz to be a part of his squad over-haul

Despite his disastrous showing on Wednesday evening Mikel Arteta looks set to keep faith in the Brazilian who has just two weeks left on his Arsenal contract.

Arsenal: Arteta wants “role model” David Luiz to be a part of his squad over-haul
LAURENCE GRIFFITHS REUTERS

In the aftermath of Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat to Manchester City, Mikel Arteta insisted that his desire to keep David Luiz had not changed despite the Brazilian’s calamitous 26-minute-long showing at the Etihad.

David Luiz's City nightmare

Not included in the starting line-up, Luiz was introduced mid-way through the first half after an injury to Pablo Marí and was directly responsible for both of City’s first two goals, the second resulting in a red card just minutes into the second half. The former Chelsea defender is out of contract at the club at the end of June but post-match interviews from both player and manager suggested that he has a future at the club.

Premier League - Manchester City v Arsenal

Luiz takes the blame for Arsenal defeat

“Simple as that, it’s my fault. The team did well, especially with 10 men," said Luiz just minutes after the full-time whistle. "The coach is amazing, all the players are amazing, it was just my fault.”

Throughout his error-strewn career David Luiz has always been willing to front up after bad performances and that willingness to accept criticism was again praised by his manager last night. Arteta called him “very honest, straightforward”, someone who is “always going to try and give you his best”.

Talking about Luiz’s future at the club, Arteta made clear that he values Luiz’s personality and would not let a poor performance change his desire to keep the 33-year-old. “My opinion hasn't changed from the moment I joined the team. For everything he's done for the team, for everything he's done for me, it won’t change because of a difficult performance tonight. I know what happened today. I know the way David reacted because I know him well, not only as a player but a person as well”.

Arteta willing to put faith in youth

The Arsenal boss fielded a surprisingly inexperienced side against the reigning champions with Bukayo Saka (18-years-old), Joe Willock (20) and Eddie Nketiah (21) included from the start, while centre back Pablo Marí made just his second Premier League appearance. Arteta left Alexandre Lacazette on the bench for much of the game and record-signing Nicolas Pépé did not feature.

Even more notable was the omission of Mesut Özil who did not even make the bench in an extended 20-man squad. The German World Cup winner is currently on a £350,000-per-week contract but Arteta’s willingness to leave him out shows that he is paying little regard to reputation.

Luiz wants to get contract decision finalised soon

After the game Luiz admitted that the uncertainly surrounding his future had probably not helped his preparation and regrets that a decision was not made during the Premier League’s suspension. “I should have taken a different decision in the last two months but I didn’t, all about my contract, if I stay here or not. I have 14 days to be here and that’s it. I should have tried to decide my future as early as possible, but I didn’t".

He drew a lot of criticism from Arsenal fans on Twitter after Wednesday’s game but it seems likely that his manager will do everything he can to keep him in North London. Before the match Arteta said that he had been impressed with Luiz during his time at the club saying that he had been “a key role model since I joined”.
“I like what he produces on the pitch, I like his influence around the players and the club – I would love to keep him”.