Gunners manager feels unity key to any restructuring

Premier League has obligation to lower league clubs, says Arteta

Arsenal new signing Thomas Partey could make his debut against Manchester City tomorrow.
Arsenal new signing Thomas Partey could make his debut against Manchester City tomorrow.
Image: Stuart MacFarlane/Getty Images

London – Premier League clubs have an obligation to protect those further down the English soccer pyramid, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said yesterday, the day after top-flight clubs voted against Project Big Picture.

Touted by the American owners of Liverpool and Manchester United, the plan called for the Premier League's six biggest clubs, plus three long-term members, to have special voting rights that would effectively put them in command of the world's most commercially successful league.

Arteta says that whatever the rights and wrongs of the proposals, lower league clubs should be protected.

“I think we have to protect the lower leagues as well, this is our obligation,” Arteta told reporters ahead of his side's trip to his old club Manchester City tomorrow.

“We want to produce grass roots and opportunities for everybody in this industry. I think it's fair to assess the situation and find the best possible way to achieve that. This is our responsibility as well.”

Arteta said he believed unity was vital in any decisions regarding a restructuring of the Premier League.

“I think that's a massive strength so as much as we can, we can maintain that unity and sustain our way of doing things,” Arteta said. “I think that's very valuable and the image that we project to the outside world is really, really strong.

“I hope that we can maintain that.”

While Project Big Picture has dominated the agenda this week, Arteta's main concern is Arsenal's clash with City who have begun the season in stuttering fashion, taking four points from their first three games.

“They are still producing incredible numbers in everything that they are doing,” Arteta said. “In my opinion, they have been really unlucky with some of the results they got.”

Arsenal could hand a debut to new signing Thomas Partey after his arrival from Atletico Madrid.

“Today he will have his first training session, so everything has to come quickly for him,” Arteta said. “We knew before we signed him that he is fit. He is very willing to start playing. We will see how he goes in the next few days.”

 

Fixtures

Tomorrow: Everton v Liverpool, 1.30pm; Chelsea v Southampton, 4pm; Man City v Arsenal, 6.30pm; Newcastle v Man United, 9pm

Sunday: Sheffield United v Fulham, 1pm; Crystal Palace v Brighton, 3pm; Tottenham v West Ham, 5.30pm; Leicester v Aston Villa, 8.15pm

Monday: West Brom v Burnley, 7pm; Leeds v Wolves, 9pm. – Reuters

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