Emmanuel Petit Exclusive

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Petit On Arsenal

After a blistering start to the season for Arsenal, which player has impressed you the most?

Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Jesus and William Saliba have impressed me the most this season.

Odegaard and Jesus have formed a very good partnership so far but they're still missing that last connection in the final third of the pitch. They both find each other very easily but need more of a killer instinct in front of goal.

I think things will only get better for Odegaard and Jesus but they need to improve when linking up in the penalty area.

 

Can Gabriel Jesus win the Golden Boot this season?

Gabriel Jesus won't win the Golden Boot but I'm sure he will score at least 20 goals. He won't be the top goalscorer because the Premier League has Erling Haaland who scores so many and he will be the best striker in the league.

Jesus can score 20-25 goals and he will be one of the best strikers in the league - I'm confident of that.

 

How far can Arsenal go in the Europa League?

Arsenal know that the Europa League is very important for them because the winner qualifies for the Champions League. I think Arsenal will take the competition very seriously and I'm pretty sure that both Arsenal and Man United will reach the semi-finals.

If they both meet in the final [of the Europa League], I'm a Gooner so I back Arsenal to win. Since Mikel Arteta came to the club they have improved a lot and I have been very impressed.

 

Rio Ferdinand has told Arsenal fans to ‘calm down’ regarding their opinion on William Saliba’s ability. Is this a statement you agree with or is Saliba as good as everyone is saying at the moment?

I understand what Rio Ferdinand is saying, but he's forgetting that he was making mistakes when he was 21 too and he still went on to become a very important player.

William Saliba is improving a lot and he can become one of the best defenders in the Premier League.

He has to improve his reading of the game and his concentration. He has everything to be one of the top defenders in the league and he's already shown some good skills this season.

 

Do you think Arsenal could be title contenders?

Right now, Arsenal are first in the league so I would say they are genuine title contenders.

They have improved over the last few seasons, but they still need to improve against the top teams. They need to learn to convincingly beat top teams.

We're seeing things in this Arsenal squad that we haven't seen before. Maturity, character and personality and so for them to be able to beat the best teams in the division is the last stop for Arsenal.

 

Reports suggested that Arsenal were offered the chance to sign Arthur Melo this summer before he went to Liverpool. Will Arteta regret missing out on him?

Not signing Arthur Melo isn't a big miss for Arsenal. I know they were looking for that link between the midfield and striker and if I was Edu [the technical director], I'd make an offer for Alexis Mac Allister from Brighton - I really like him. 

 

The Arsenal fans seem very happy with Oleksandr Zinchenko since signing. Is he one of the signings of the transfer window?

Oleksandr Zinchenko fits perfectly with what Mikel Arteta wants to do with the squad. He will be very important for Arsenal and he's a very good addition to the squad - I'm sure he will be a hit.


Petit On Chelsea

What are your thoughts on the sacking of Thomas Tuchel?

The sacking of Thomas Tuchel is brutal, but not a surprise. Not many managers could have handled the pressure and problems that have been going on at Chelsea.

Tuchel won three trophies and there was no recognition for the work he's done for the club.

 

How will Graham Potter handle the step up to Chelsea?

Graham Potter, if appointed as looks likely, would be a gamble for Chelsea. I have big respect for the work Potter has done at Brighton; the team has improved so much but Chelsea is a new world for him, it's completely different. The standards and egos of the players are not the same.

I hope he will succeed, but it's a big gamble. I have no idea how the players will react to his appointment but I can imagine some will be happy and some will be unhappy.

I know Pochettino has been linked with the job too but he spent so many years with Tottenham and he may have the failures with PSG in his head - if he goes to Chelsea it will be funny because he would've followed Tuchel to PSG and then Chelsea.

 

Chelsea signed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the summer window. Is he the answer to their striker problems?

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang is not the solution to Chelsea's problems. I know he's a good striker who can still score goals but not as many as Chelsea need.

He's 33 years old and I think he'll score 15 goals - if he has a very good season, he'll score 20 but he's not the solution to the problems at Chelsea.

 

Former Chelsea player Pat Nevin said that Chelsea weren’t good enough to finish in the top four before Fofana arrived. Do you agree?

Wesley Fofana alone is not enough for Chelsea to win the Premier League but he can help them finish in the top four. He's similar to Aubameyang, they're both part of the solution but they have so many players, like Mason Mount, who are so far away from the level they need to be at.

Something is broken at Chelsea and I hope with a new manager that things will change, but it will take time. Before sorting their performances out on the pitch, they need to sort out the dressing room first.


Additional Comments

Allan-Saint Maximin has already proved this season that he can make an impact against the best teams in the Premier League. How long can Newcastle keep hold of him?

Newcastle's owners need to put Allan Saint-Maximin at the centre of their project. He wants to play for the French national team and go to the World Cup and I'm very happy that he stayed at Newcastle because that proves that the ambition at Newcastle is big right now.

I want him to stay in the long run and I want him to be at the heart of the squad. We all know he will be a top player but there is a question in the air at the moment over whether he can play at the highest level. If I was Didier Deschamps - I would give him a call-up right now.

 

How do you see Neal Maupay getting on at Everton? Is he the perfect addition for Frank Lampard?

Neal Maupay in his best season at Brighton scored between seven and 10 goals and I think he will provide the same to Everton. The most important thing for Everton and Lampard is to get Dominic Calvert-Lewin back fit as soon as possible.

 

Raphael Varane has started the season really well under Erik ten Hag - do you think he should be given the captaincy ahead of Harry Maguire?

The one player that should receive the Manchester United captaincy is Christian Eriksen. He has the personality and the character and he always gives the best version of himself on the pitch.

Raphael Varane has played at a very good level, but he's very shy and he doesn't have the temper or the personality to be the Manchester United captain.

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