Mikel Arteta breaks silence on Arsenal's failed Douglas Luiz bids as Villa block transfer

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“I’ve got confidence he’ll understand the situation and the club’s decision. We didn’t want to lose a very important player and a top player so late in the window,” Gerrard explained. “From a personal point of view, I very much back the club’s decision and stance on that. I spoke to Dougie face-to-face yesterday, and he understood where it was at and the position that the club was in.”

The double midfield pivot featuring Lokonga and Xhaka combined well in Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Villa, in which Luiz scored directly from a corner for the second time this season. So it’s likely Arteta will stick with the duo in Sunday’s top-four six-pointer against United.

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