Arteta: Leicester were defensive out of respect

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Mikel Arteta has said Arsenal should view Leicester’s defensive approach as a sign of respect for the progress they have made since he became manager.

Arteta replaced Unai Emery last December and guided them to an FA Cup triumph in August before winning three of their opening four Premier League fixtures to make a promising start to this season’s campaign.

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However, on Sunday, Leicester emerged from the Emirates Stadium with a 1-0 win to leave the Gunners in 11th place before they face Manchester United on Sunday.

Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka endured a difficult night as Leicester were defensive before scoring with their only shot on target as substitute Jamie Vardy headed home the winner in the 80th minute.

Speaking ahead of Thursday night’s Europa League Group B clash against Dundalk, Arteta said: “It is the role of everybody, first of all, to give [the strikers] the solutions and the right structure to attack better.

“Obviously this block and the way they set up is not easy at all but we opened up in the first half five or six times and we should have scored a goal. But it is something we are not too used to because we haven’t faced teams doing it that regularly. But I think it is a really good sign.

“When Leicester comes to your house and acts like this, it is because they really respect you now and they are concerned. We have to take that as something very positive, as an advantage because if a lot of teams start to do that, I’m telling you, we are going to win a lot of games.”

With David Luiz ruled out due to a muscular injury, Mustafi is in line to start against Dundalk on Thursday. However, Saka, who came off against Leicester with a knock, is fit while Willian has trained for the last two days following a calf problem and could be named among the substitutes to face Dundalk.

Meanwhile Shkodran Mustafi, insists there have been no talks over his Arsenal future but admitted he would like to stay at the club beyond the end of his contract.

Mustafi made his return from injury as a second half substitute in Sunday’s defeat to Leicester.

The 28-year-old’s deal expires at the end of the season; there had been suggestions he rejected an offer for an extension as he viewed his future elsewhere.

However, Mustafi, who joined the Gunners from Valencia for £35 million in 2016, claims no discussions have taken place as he focused on returning from a serious hamstring injury which ended his involvement last season with the FA Cup semifinal win over Manchester City in July.

The centreback has been subjected to fierce criticism at times from supporters and pundits alike but he expressed a desire to stay at Arsenal if an agreement can be reached.

He said: “At the moment, I was just happy to come back from injury, it was three long months — I was happy just to come back and be able to play again.

“We haven’t been talking about anything so there isn’t anything I can tell you guys. Now for me, it is important to just get a few games and get into the match rhythm and then see how it goes.

“When I made a decision to sign for Arsenal it is because I respect this club. It is a huge club, that’s why for me if I could stay at Arsenal, of course it would mean a lot to me.

“At the end of the day, it was important for me in the last three months to come back after the injury and to be ready to play and to help my team.

“When you hopefully get a few games, you can maybe look at the future but at the moment for me it has been difficult because in the last months, I haven’t really been thinking about the end of my contract or what is going on with the future because all I wanted was to be back as quick as possible.”