The Gunners manager had plenty of warm words for an impressive game that saw several members of his rotated side press for more regular minutes
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta had nothing but praise for his second-stringers following their robust performance against Dundalk in the Europa League, admitting that their “easy” display has given him selection headaches.
The Gunners ran out 3-0 victors at the Emirates Stadium against the League of Ireland champions thanks to a five-minute goal burst either side of half-time led by Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock and Nicolas Pepe.
Having named a nominal first-choice side for their European opener against Rapid Wien last week, fixture congestion ahead of a Premier League clash with Manchester United forced Arteta to rotate multiple players for the visit of Filippo Giovagnoli’s relative minnows, with half-a-dozen changes between the two starting lineups seven days apart.
Despite that, the hosts took their chances when they came, with Iceland goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson keeping a clean sheet on debut and England youth star Willock helping them to lodge 25 shots at their opposition’s goal throughout.
Speaking afterwards, Arteta championed his side’s performance against an opponent who adamantly refused to be overawed by the occasion, and hailed his side’s respect for their visitors as key to making their free-flowing performance look like a cakewalk on the occasion.
However, the 38-year-old admitted that several eye-catching turns meant that he would face difficulties in picking his teams in the near future, as several stars pressed a claim for more regular football, while also singling out the returning Willian for his efforts upon his return from injury.
“We made it look easy because we were very disciplined, took it seriously and were at it from the beginning,” the Spaniard told BT Sport.
“We made a lot of changes, gave opportunities to other players and I think they performed well.
“We have a large squad and I wanted to give opportunities to everybody. Today they showed they were prepared when I need them and today they made it more difficult for me for selection.
“Sometimes it is about the quality, sometimes it is about the tactical plan for the game. I am very pleased with the performance today.
“We missed Willian the last couple of weeks, he had a very short pre-season. He needs that bit of rhythm. He looked good today, great to get some minutes in his legs.
“After losing the way we lost against Leicester it was painful. It took a few days to react but good to respond straight away with a win and now we go to Old Trafford and try to win again.”