Mikel Arteta has dared Ivan Toney to tweet one other spiky message before their two teams clash on the Community Stadium. The Arsenal manager used a post from the Brentford striker as inspiration ahead of the 2-1 win on the Emirates in February.
Now he says he’s standing together with his whiteboard marker poised just waiting for Ivan Toney to take to Twitter again. The Brentford striker is one in every of the lads of the moment, having seen his hat-trick against Leeds last outing rewarded with a call as much as the England squad to face Italy and Germany later this month.
But in Arteta’s mind, Toney was already making a reputation for himself over a 12 months ago, when he posted a cheeky tweet after Brentford’s shock opening day win against Arsenal. The Amazon Prime documentary All or Nothing revealed that the comment was still bugging him when the 2 teams played the reverse fixture in February.
And he reminded his players of it by writing it on his display board just minutes before they headed out to secure a 2-1 win on the Emirates. “Before I’m going, since it’s still in my stomach and I even have managed to maintain it for 4 months, five months, six months,” said the Spanish coach, pointing to the tweet on the screen – ‘Nice kick about with the boys’.
“So today they play in our house, guys there is barely one team on that f***ing pitch – and it’s us! We take that f***ing ball, we take the sport, we go for it and let’s f***ing win this game!” Likewise, Arteta could have his social media team keeping their tabs on Toney’s accounts before Sunday’s lunchtime kick-off.
“I haven’t written the script for the pre-match message on Sunday, so if he has any messages he desires to post before then, I could all the time write them down,” Arteta smiled. Either way, Arteta says this time it is going to be men against men.
“Brentford has given us a whole lot of arguments within the last 12 months or two,” he said. “You may have to essentially imagine that you’ll go there and have a giant battle and you are going to suffer if you must go there and get the three points out of that stadium. I believe they’re very clear on that and now we have many examples.”
After five wins out of 5 in August, Arteta is set the manager of the month award shouldn’t be going to be a curse – last time he won in it in March, Arsenal lost their next three games and crashed out of Champions League contention. “I’ll send it back!” Arteta joked.
“No, let’s change it, in order that the subsequent one I can have it and luxuriate in having it and live without fears for the subsequent few weeks. Let me be the one who can change the story!” Ben White has meanwhile been declared fully fit by Arteta, who insists his England snub by Gareth Southgate is solely a range issue.
The £50million defender has been impressive in Arsenal’s table-topping begin to the season but has again been ignored in favour of Everton’s Conor Coady and struggling Manchester United skipper Harry Maguire.
Indeed, he has shown a few of the versatility the England manager often prizes by playing at right-back in addition to in his usual centre-back position. “Yes, he’s fit,” Arteta said. “He has played in each positions and he has been chosen sometimes and never.
“I believe to have a flexible player to play at that level in each positions of central defender and full back is something that for my part any manager wants. Especially while you go to a tournament where a whole lot of things can occur. But that’s Gareth’s decision and his coaching staff.
“At any time when he gets the decision, he will likely be ready. Listen, Gareth picks one of the best squad that he believes is for now. The squad he picked for November is incredible. Anything we will do to assist Ben, we try to do. I believe Ben is giving a whole lot of reasons to be chosen. That’s all we will do.”