Arsenal star hails squad strength after Stoke win

16:56 04 February 2013


Arsenal's Mikel Arteta celebrates. Photo: Anna Gowthorpe/PA

PA Wire

Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal’s 1-0 win against Stoke City on Saturday highlighted their strength in depth.

Boss Arsene Wenger rested Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla for the clash at the Emirates, but the duo made a big difference when they came off the bench in the second half.

Podolski scored the deflected winner, while Cazorla injected some much needed urgency to proceedings.

Arteta, meanwhile, was back in the team after almost a month on the sidelines, and he thinks rotation is crucial to building momentum.

“You have to do that [rotate],” he told Arsenal Player. “I think Santi’s played a lot of games, as I did before I got injured.

“The last thing you want is [him injured] for a few weeks, [especially] now important games are coming up.

“He [Wenger] decided to leave him on the bench. He came on to help us win the game and that shows that the players can be changed, that we can rotate the team, and that we have a powerful squad.

“I was desperate to get back. I tried to [come back] a bit earlier than today, but it was impossible. I wasn’t sure if I was playing today.

“The boss thought that I had to, and I was very pleased to be out there, as captain as well. I’m very proud of it.”

He added: “You know you have to be patient in those games. Sometimes when you have to rush the game, you make mistakes and get hit on the counter attack.

“We knew that the chances would come, they have come and it took a bit of luck to win the game, but it was enough to earn the three points and we’re delighted.”

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