Arteta ‘privileged’ to reach Arsenal century against Watford

A “privileged” Mikel Arteta will take charge of Arsenal for the 100th time against Watford on Sunday afternoon.

The Spaniard took charge of the Gunners in December 2019 and won the FA Cup and Community Shield during his first year in charge.

His position at the Emirates has been called into question numerous times, however.

Arsenal struggled greatly last winter, but the 39-year-old survived the dismal run of form and is hoping for better fortunes this year.

“An incredible and big journey,” said Arteta on his road to 100 matches.

A lot has happened, not only at the football club but around the world. That obviously has had a huge impact in everything that we have lived in the last two years.

“But I am so privileged to be where I am and I am really enjoying the opportunity and the challenge that we have ahead.

“I think we all update any year like any computer. With everything that has happened to us, even more so.

“I am different (from his first game in charge), I see things differently, you evolve in certain ways, you learn a lot of things. We keep evolving.”

Hornets manager Claudio Ranieri replaced Xisco Munoz at Vicarage Road last month and has long surpassed 1,000 matches in the dugout.

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“I need that recipe! How they have done it,” Arteta said of the long-serving managers, which also now include his former Everton boss David Moyes after he reached the four-figure milestone on Thursday night with West Ham.

In his pre-match press conference, Arteta also discussed Emile Smith Rowe and Benjamin White, who were left out of Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad.

“Gareth [Southgate] has to make so many difficult choices and has got so many options,” he said.

“What I like is that our players are performing at a level to give problems to Gareth and the coaching staff.”

Speaking on Smith Rowe, the Spaniard said: “I think he should be happy if people are gutted or if they’re questioning the decision because it shows the level he’s playing at. Like anything in Emile’s career it will come in the right moment.”

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