Thursday, June 13, 2024

Arteta: They were better in the boxes

Mikel Arteta says Arsenal paid the price for not making good decisions in the final third as his side went down 1-0 at Aston Villa.

Ollie Watkins put the home side ahead inside two minutes after a terrible mix-up between Cedric and Gabriel and Dean Smith’s men were comfortable keeping us at arm’s length on a day when the officiating again sparked a furious reaction from the Gunners bench.

Arteta felt Ezri Konsa should have been sent off for a foul on Bukayo Saka in the first half and referee Chris Kavanagh missed a clear tug on Alex Lacazette’s shirt by Emi Martinez as the duo tussled for a corner. Despite his annoyance that more decisions went against his players, the boss admitted his side were their own worst enemies.

“I’m extremely disappointed to lose and the way we lost it,” he told BBC Sport.

“We were the better team. We controlled every department but we gave them the ball. We gave them another three big chances. Then when we had to score the goal, we didn’t find the right pass or the right shot.

“They were better in the boxes and that’s how you win games. We created enough opportunities. We didn’t score, we cannot win the game.”

Reflecting on Villa’s goal, Arteta added: “We just gave them the ball, a moment you make a mistake and they punish you.

“You cannot win football matches if every week you do something like that. Four or five times we’ve played with 10 men. Against Wolves, we deserved to win both games by far but we lost both.

“[Red cards] cost us that game [against Wolves] – today other big decisions. Regardless of what the referee did today, we should win the game comfortably.”

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I’m not a football expert. And I want Arteta to succeed. But can someone tell me tactically, is Arteta better than Emery? And if yes, why?


He’s not is he? He’s living on that fa cup win where we defended deep and rode our luck.
We are going backwards with him in charge

John Graham

Well we are not getting any better with him in charge.. he is just bluffing his way along !


Not sure if he’s better or worse, but I do appreciate that at least I can understand what he’s saying when talking to the press.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Arteta is much worse at communication than Emery. Always saying what he thinks is good to say. I hate that.


Saka used to ask Freddy Llunberg for instructions because he couldn’t tell what Emery wanted, while Guardiola trusted Arteta enough to let him do the city team talks. “much worse communicator”? Really?


What does it matter?


Hes fixed the defence without making us a more defensive teams. Its up to the players out there to create chances, a good system can only get you up to the final third. The players have to do the rest.

God knows where Emerys team would have been without Aubameyang and Lacazette scoring.


What are you watching?

Not more defensive? We gave up trying to be an attacking team for most of the first half of the season.

Under Emery we were at least scoring more goals.

I’m not an Emery fan but he is slightly better.


Excellently put.


Well, we know that Arteta’s team was damn close to the relegation zone.


Not sure but maybe he has a higher ceiling?!

One thing is for sure Arteta is dining out on the FA cup win and being a former player. Barring a few good performances, this season has been nothing short dog shit but he still has a job.

Paul Roberts

Did anyone else hear Arteta screaming at Saka to let a ball go out (which he did) and the attacking player was so close to keeping it in play and advancing at goal? The pundits were saying it was a bad decision by Saka but it was all on Arteta and his micro management. It seems if you train well and do exactly what he says you get picked regardless of how good you are.
I’ve had enough of Arteta sorry.

Paul Roberts

In addition:

With the quality of our attacking players we should be scoring goals but we are not. Is that the coaching?
Our discipline is shot to bits our set plays are rubbish and we struggle to take legal throw-ins.
In the words of Monty Python
“what has Arteta actually done for us”??


It wasn’t arteta it was xhaka that shouted leave it, maybe before trying to make a point you should make sure you are correct smh

Paul Roberts

Was it? My general point still stands if you are correct? Were you there??


MA has got a much better PR team imposing the media and social media to worship him.


He must have hired Ozils then.


The thing with emery for me was…for the first my life he made me skip an Arsenal match just because his style of play didnt have any purpose and it was us just merely being present on the pitch. Arteta on the other hand has showed he can alter his style.of play but the most frustrating part is he doesnt have a plan b…he likes to stick what worked and doesnt like to alter much. Wolves first half was us enjoying the football but subs are not his strong point. He more or less looks like a coach who… Read more »


The tough part about Arteta is we’re taking our lumps as he learns on the job. The hope is he develops into the manager Pep thinks he can be, but as it stands he’s very inexperienced and that has shown this year. The team is playing better than it was and the young players give us something to be hopefully about. Would this season look different with an experienced manager in charge – 100 percent. But the hope is we emerge from this year with a strong base for next year.


I haven’t been the biggest Arteta supporter… but aside from his substitutions- which were suspect, not sure what Arteta could have done differently in terms of selection or tactics.
Can we not just give credit to an Aston Villa team who have the 2nd best defensive record in the league? Once we’d given away that cheap goal, there was always going to be a mountain to climb against such a resolute defence. But we did play the better football and could have easily created more opportunities- had the decision making or quality of the last ball been there.


We played better football, did we?

No, No we did not. More possession, maybe. More pointless crosses into the Villa box with noone really there.

We were out shot. And Villa was slicing our defense open with east. No. I will not damn my own eyes. Villa were the better side. From the starting whistle to the ending whistle.

Grealish is an odious, diving little twat, to be sure.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Definitely better than Emery. It took a while to get the team paying like they’re not strangers, but it’s getting there little by little. Defensively they are better and not giving up 30 shots every game like they were. Do you remember under Emery when they tried to pass it out from the back?

This Newcastle vs Villa game is alright. 2-1 after 30 mins. A goal for Willock, and a lovely goal from Minamino.

On current form, he isn’t a better or worse tactician. Whatever defensive improvements that have happened under him is offset by his team’s inability to create high quality chances consistently. Which is something Emery was better at. I think him and Emery have a similar win % percentage against the top 6 in the league. I wonder how much of our defensive set-up is more due to Round & Stuivenberg than it is Arteta himself. We are more similar to Moyes and LVG’s Man Utd than we are to Guardiola’s City. I’m not too phased with Arteta remaining as manager.… Read more »


Emery slightly overachieved in his first season. We then spent £140million, but weakened our squad in the immediate, also losing a lot of leadership within the dressing room Luiz was a downgrade on Koscielny Ceballos was inexperienced, and a downgrade on Ramsey Pepe was incredibly raw Tierney had a hernia, and no pre-season, so the replacement for Monreal wasn’t instant We lost Mkhitaryan, Welbeck, Iwobi We replaced with Saka + Martinelli in the medium – long term that was like,y the right move but in the immediate we were also going to hurt blooding a 17 + 18yr old Bellerin… Read more »


This is an excellent, well thought post.
I doff my cap to you, my friend.

I’m so bloody annoyed and its 3 hrs. later.
Im going for beers now. Perhaps that’s my problem; Im still sober….


Thank you

People usually hate my opinions, your kind words mean a lot


He’s on borrowed time. A very clever coach but he takes too long to suss issues in game.

  • Pepe & Willian have to play on their natural side.
  • We have to play a left footer at LB be it Saka, Gabriel or someone like Ben Cottrell from the youth team.
  • Auba offers nothing to our build up play so we either go in behind earlier or stop playing him.

The team have made bad mistakes but sometimes new messages prompt new behaviours. Not many starters from the Emery era now so time to provide results


Maybe. Emery appeared like he only had one way to play and our players had issues conforming to it. Torriera at no.10 was a clear indicator.

Arteta seems like he’s trying to throw everything at the wall and sees what sticks but he’s done pretty well against the top 6 too.


Maybe. Emery appeared like he only had one way to play and our players had issues conforming to it. Torriera at no.10 was a clear indicator.

Arteta seems like he’s trying to throw everything at the wall and sees what sticks but he’s done pretty well against the top 6 too.

I think Arteta is a potentially good manager but being inexperience and thrown into the deep end with the pandemic schedule, rushed pre season and horrible transfer market… is really making it hard to judge.


What I loved about Emery was those pre-arranged half time double substitutions, so the first half guys would run themselves ragged, only for Ramsey and Auba (or whoever) to appear out the tunnel. Arteta has got the whole team defending, not just the back 4,3 or 5. Our defensive record this season is still impressive even after all the errors and red cards. He appears to be a bit of a control freak but with full stadiums the passion of individual players might see that neutralised. I’d give him till the end of the season, but also give Nuno Espirito… Read more »


Imagine how different the game could’ve been if Cedric hadn’t done that absolutely atrocious lay off in the 70th second. Then again, if only my auntie had b*llocks she’d be my uncle.


There just wasn’t enough time left to turn it around


I’m afraid in today’s world your aunty can indeed have balls and be called non binary. I don’t understand this or Cedric’s backpass.

Heavenly Chapecoense

I am afraid in today’s world, people won’t just lol and thumb you up, the way I did.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)



Not sure MA watching the same game as me today. Thought we were poor throughout. Could have played another 90 mins and not scored. Konsa should have been off though. If not for the Saka foul, the. When he went through the back of Lacazette a few mins later. Didn’t get the ball, but should have got a second yellow.

Cranky Colin

It’s not gonna happen tho, is it my friend.


Has a point about the officials, becoming bloody annoying how we keep getting the big calls against us.

Hard to sympathise with anything else, how Willian keeps getting in is mind boggling. Not the player he was and Martinelli offers a far bigger threat going forward.

David Hilliers Arm Cast

Arteta clearly has his favorites who will play regardless of performance. Coward.


I do think Blogs standard of how would we feel if it went against us is the right way to look at it. Saka was miles from goal and they had players on the center racing back to cover – we would have gone nuts if that was a red against us. & while Emi got away with one – have you ever seen a keeper called for a foul on a corner?

Joe Starkey

Inclined to give Cedric and Gabriel the benefit of the doubt and blame it on a breakdown in communication. Can’t be easy with one speaking Portuguese and the other Brazilian. Something to work on though lads.


Joe Starkey



Gabriel not involved in that mix up Andrew. A victim of Cedric’s twattery at best.


I’m making a giant “Willian out” sign for when we’re allowed back in the stadium. Might get the kids to help as part of an art lesson next week. Kill two birds with one stone.


Id like to help as well make it a big giant sign


I would assume he isn’t the only one making that sign. When fans are allowed in, there will likely be thousands of Willian Out signs.


Make it out of LEGO.

Even Arteta might get the message then.

David Hilliers Arm Cast

Defending crosses in a box with no strikers in it isn’t exactly hard.

Prajwal M Pai

We were much better with Saka at LB. I wish Arteta had done that sub at Half time itself. I feel it should be Saka at LB till Tierney returns. We looked a lot more balanced.
Also felt that Lacazette should not have been subbed off. I feel he would have combined better with MO and ESR.

David Hilliers Arm Cast

We were much better in that position. Odegaard was positive but Willian and Pepe were dire in the last 20.

I won’t get started on Auba.

Prajwal M Pai

I will never understand why Arteta insists on bringing Willian when we are chasing games.

Also, when Laca plays the linkup is much better than when Auba plays.

Willian should be out of Matchday squads.


LEGO head will continue to keep playing him though, in the hope that one good match in three years will justify his pathetic purchase.


A positive today was that Odegaard looked good when he came on. Quick movement, good passing looking forward to see him play more regularly.


Otherwise ARSENAL player and n°10, Joe Willock, has just goaled for Newcastle after 15 minutes.

David Hilliers Arm Cast

I think you hit the nail on the head, we look good when we play that style, quick passing and movement. ESR and Saka are the key in that area.

That however is stifled by the likes of Pepe (prefers a dribble) and Willian (prefers passing to the opposition).


Yeh I just didnt understand the willian sub, we needed Martinelli at that moment.

Baichung Bhutia

Agree, he looked really good after comin on, hope he can keep this up. We simply list all momentum once Partey came off and Willian came on. Laca and ESR had poor games which really cost us in attack. It wasnt the Willian sub which lost us the game, but really cant get my head around it – he has done nothing at all and is stopping the youngsters from a place on the bench.


They were better than us all over the pitch, except possibly in goal where we can claim a draw. We all want you to succeed Mikel, but say it like it is please.


I disagree. We were the better team in the 2nd half.


Better to do what? exercise a little of pressure ?


I know this is sour grapes but Villa earned at least a double yellow for me from those fouls and Martinez pulling Laca down for that corner was a pen as well.

No way that was any worse than a draw that performance but Cedric should be given the lash (metaphorically speaking).

I regret that I cannot be at games to boo Willian until Arteta stops with this nonsense as well.

Felt Laca should have stayed on but the subs of Odegaard and Auba were always going to come at 1-0 down.

Odegaard’s passing was quality


How could we be the “better team” if…

“We gave them 3 big chances”
“if we didn’t find the right pass” and
“they were better in the boxes”???

Contradiction in terms – at the highest level.


I like Arteta but we needed 4/6 points from the last two games yet we have zero. Should we be making a proven high class manager our priority this summer?

Timorous Me

It’s not exactly his fault we got robbed of three points against Wolves. And who knows if the team might have come out differently today without that demoralizing situation.


Gabriel was very good for me. Partey too before the substitution. Odegaad made two passes I really liked. Fine margins in the EPL. It wasn’t as dreadful as some of the comments suggest. We need to find our scoring boots again.


We were the better team throughout? Really.
And controlled every dept? We really never.
Poor performance..never looked liked scoring. No real creativity.
Mid table performance from what is basically going to be a mid table team for this season.


To say we never looked like scoring is stretching things. We fashioned a few good chances- the finishing was just not great.


And that adds up to not scoring. Some games you can just see from and early stage that we just ain’t going to score. I called in 1st 20 mins sadly


Arteta, you’re inconsistent with words and actions. Do you really reward hardwork? How does Willian earn a place over Martinelli? And is Partey, the new Diaby? So good, but often injured!

Edwin Carroll

When does the season end again? 🙂 🙂

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

I don’t agree that “we should have won the game comfortably”. Villa defended well and had the better chances. I don’t like that Arteta always seems to have excuses when we lose. Whether it’s statistically a 86.6% chance of losing or what he just said here

Cannon Heart

At some point we need to face up to the fact that we, a club with champions league ambitions,
are still keeping a manager who has lost 10 of 23 games. That’s very hard to justify. Other clubs have fired managers for far less


Well, we needed something out of that game – I said before the game that a draw was probable – but unfortunately we weren’t good enough over the ninety minutes even to retrieve a (very, very) early goal caused by a defensive blunder. Needless to say that everyone above and immediately below us has at least a game in hand, often more. We’re using up our games and not moving in the table – a recipe for stagnation, if not quite disaster. I’ve always thought that an EL qualifying place would be the realistic target for MA and Arsenal this… Read more »


So called dead wood players left the club.. 2 games 2 loss…
Trust the process I suppose 😉


They were quicker to the second ball, better in transition, better at closing down and better in goal.


You brought on Willian again – and we lost again.


Every manager tries to control the post match story when they lose but no Mikel, we didn’t dominate the game, didn’t dominate in every department and no, we didn’t deserve to win.

I’d have a lot more respect for Arteta if he just came out and said we didn’t play well enough to win and I take responsibility for that. But he’s just not that guy.

Johnny 2 Bad

Hate to say it, but let’s change manager. The team is not as bad as the results. What more can you say? We have a big history for loyalty, which is a good thing, but in this case, we need to change the vibe.

Ray Middleton

I felt that the big stars are letting the side down and we still have some very verage players who are simply not up to the mark. Whether you want to put that on the manager is up to you however once again we were let down by bad officiating. The one decision I didn’t understand because he has not performed was bringing on Willian for Partey. I would have hoped if he was bringing on an attacker, it would have been Martinelli. In Midfield, surely Elneny or Ceballos. If Martinelli is not fit, don’t put him on the bench.… Read more »


Can we talk about Willian. Anyone who thinks Willian will change a game or have an impact more than Martinelli shouldn’t be leading our club.


Arteta made fundamental errors today. Taking off Laca big mistake. Should have kept him with Auba on left side drifting in which is his stronger suit. Putting Auba up top generated nothing. Laca was too far from penalty box most game. We needed him situated in it. Many crosses (from Bellerin) reached ghosts. With Auba wide, we could have had Laca instructed to keep closer and in and around the box. next Arteta made another mistake putting on Odegaard instead of ceballos. Ceballos has been looking very sharp in training. Odegaard as I mentioned won’t be the quick fix many… Read more »

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