Arteta: We should have been three or four-nil up

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Mikel Arteta says his players can take pride from their performance despite Arsenal embarking on a bizarre capitulation against Wolves that saw them squander a one-goal advantage and end the night with two red cards.

The game’s pivotal moment came deep into first half stoppage time when referee Craig Pawson awarded the home side a penalty and sent off David Luiz after the Brazilian appeared to catch the heels of compatriot Willian Jose in the box. While VAR backed up the on-field officials, replays showed the minimal contact was arguably instigated, albeit accidentally, by the attacker.

Ruben Neves tucked away the penalty and three minutes after the break, Wolves completed the comeback courtesy of Joao Moutinho’s 30-yard screamer.

The Gunners had been in total control prior to the equaliser and were unlucky not to have more to show for their first half endeavours than Nicolas Pepe’s fine strike. To make matters worse, Bernd Leno also received a straight red for handling outside the box after misjudging the bounce of a long through ball.

In his post-game press conference, Arteta was bristling with frustration at the officials but tried to strike a positive tone given the slickness of some of his side’s play.

“First of all I have to say that I am extremely proud of our team and the way we played, the way we dominated the first half,” he said.

“We should have been three or four-nil up. We didn’t do that and we put ourselves in a really difficult position after conceding the goal and going a man down.

“If you want to talk about the decision, I’ve just seen the replay 10 times in five different angles. I’m sitting here with you guys and I cannot see any contact. I would like to see if VAR has a different angle.”

Having worked so hard to put together a seven-game unbeaten run in the Premier League, the concern will be that this defeat will kill the Gunners’ upward momentum. The boss is determined to keep things in context.

“The way we lost the game is where it really hurts and it’s painful,” he said.

“I have to take the positives as well in the way the team is evolving, the way the team played against this opponent, which is really difficult to attack, the amount of chances we created. We leave the ground, we have zero points and we lost two important players.”

Asked if he can take heart from the way his attack clicked in the first half, he added: “Absolutely, and to play three days later after the game we played against United and how demanding it was mentally and physically, and the way they started the game straight away.

“The way the boys have trained, in the second half they came out and wanted to play the game with 10 men and that was the spirit of the dressing room. With nine players, I saw players pushing to chase the goalkeeper, it’s incredible, I’m so proud of them. It’s a shame we can’t leave the ground today with three points.”

Arteta also hinted that Arsenal might appeal Luiz’s red card. 

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MeSoHornsey

Europa Cup it is then.

Spuds and ManU are the strongest other teams left in it. And I believe we absolutely can beat them.

Okemeister

Yep. They play like they did in the first half and the spirit shown throughout, we’re as good, if not better than any other team left in EL.
Bring it.

Goontang

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Benfica are a really strong squad. One team at a time.

Baichung Bhutia

Should we go as far as rotating the squad to prioritize Europa league? At least rotate Saka, ESR , Tierney and Laca. Hope Odegaard can get up trouble speed quick.

Swifty

Gotta say I feel the same.

Adriano

Proud of our team tonight ❤

Qwaliteee

So was I, in a funny kind of George Graham throw back team kind of way.

I quite like Arsenal v The Rest of The World. The refs, the pundits, the media – fuck the lot of them.

Biggles

Comments like that can look a tad “desperate” – a little like blaming our run of terrible form, in part at least, on there being no spectators (didn’t stop our recent run of good form though, did it).

The obvious response to his assertion would be “why is your team’s finishing so poor to miss three or four goals then?”. I think it’s his inexperience as a manager coming through but, hopefully, he’ll learn as he goes along.

Dave

We’re in a good moment and he wants to keep the positivity. Maybe you’ll learn when you’ve done your coaching badges, studied under Pep and are managing Arsenal FC.

jimbo

do you mean we are in good form?
were in a good moment doesnt really sound right.
and please dont lick artetas boots so much

Timi

Don’t confuse putting out cones for Pep to studying him!!! Don’t get it twisted …. guy is out of his depth.

bob

The hypocrisy. You say he twisted it, then you claim Mikel was the cone boy! Talk about twisting the narrative.

Everyone within the game sees Arteta as a massive prospect within management with all the tools to succeed bar experience. I am more than happy he is gaining that with us.

He’s Arsenal DNA straight through and with patience we can have a top quality manager who loves the club with us for years to come. There’s going to be rough and bumpy times for sure but, as supporters, let’s fucking support!

Heavenly Chapecoense

You too twisting, Arteta isn’t Arsenal DNA straight through. I agree he can succeed if given time.

Rincewind

Hear!

A P

So, we have to be proper coaches now to critique Arteta’s performance? How about being PL players to comment on our players?

Happy

To many red cards that are impacting negatively

JP2

Imagine celebrating scoring a penalty like Neves did, after winning the pen like that. Absolute tool.

Fabulous

We would’ve done the same let’s be honest. His celebration is the least of our anger at the moment.

JP2

You’re right but it still pisses me off

IamaGoober

As much as I want to agree with Arteta here, sure, we put on a really dominate display in the opening exchanges of that first half where we should have put the game away. BUT The officiating this evening has left me so fucking angry I am still so fucked off and its nearly 11pm. Pawson, the on field officials and Stockley Park were an absolute disgrace this evening. I hate to say it, but that was some of the most biased one sided refereeing I have ever seen in my life. I dont know if anyone watched the United… Read more »

Guns Up

To be fair, I feel like Arteta said about as much as he could without risking a fine and/or suspension.

Murphy was an Arsenal Fan

Quite a few people are saying it now, and pretty sure that Arteta’s gone all out saying the rabid Wolves cunt nicked David, but then doesn’t change anything now, does it? Not like the penalty will be reversed and we will be awarded a point or we will get a replay (I know it doesn’t happen). Because 9-0? If the players are really angry about yesterday they might well make it 10-0

Doug

Classic Arsenal comment unfortunately
Watched this team for too long and you know when you miss clear cut chances something bad will eventually happen.

What UtterTosh

Coulda shoulda woulda. The thing is we weren’t were we Miki.

Paul Roberts

We have become very good very quickly. This was a blip. St Tott’s is coming at the minimum. COYG.

Timorous Me

The first 46 minutes today were really impressive, against a struggling but not-terrible team, without two of our top players. The challenge now is regaining momentum and positivity and beating Villa on Saturday, though that is not going to be an easy task. But it would show some good fortitude on our part and satisfyingly shut up some critics.

Twatsloch

Not to take anything for granted but if we handle Villa the way we handled Wolves then we’ll have no problem beating them. The only worry is Leno not playing but hopefully Matt Ryan is ready to step up. Luiz we can manage without.

Villa are there for the taking!

Twatsloch

The only thing that prevented a mini St Tott’s today was that idiot ref sending off Luiz. We absolutely had Wolves by the scruff until that happened.

s.p2

Why didn’t we put them to bed?! Wasteful in attack and Luiz was comatose throughout the pre-goal sequence. Appallingly amateur game management that people are ignoring…

s.p2

In the context of the season thus far, was it truly a blip?! There’s been a noticeable improvement since December but ‘very good’ is a stretch. There are underlying weaknesses in this team and we’re still too reliant on a small core of players to perform. We needed to win this and I think people will understand why quite soon. If we finish the season outside of the European places, Arteta should be under pressure next season.

Man Manny

I want us to finish outside the European places if we don’t get CL football this season.
I believe that we will have a stronger squad next season. Less matches to play – especially not having to play those grade B EL group games – will be of immense benefit to the team.
I fully expect us to be in with a huge shout for the CL places next season.

Qwaliteee

Now that would be fucking hilarious, given how crap our league campaign has been.

I also hope City stick the ball into their net at Wembley so many times, the fucking score board blows up.

Santori

Absolutely the issue. We are too complacent. We need to be far less forgiving. We need to negate these perpetual issues of red cards and cock ups by being far more lethal when presented opportunities. Sure the Ref was stringent today (as he should be) and we were unlucky with a number of chances but that is the issue, We have to either execute when in control or make sure we have concentration all the way to the whistle or preferably BOTH. how to focus the squad make them less susceptible to folly is the job of the manager. We… Read more »

Ozzie

Perspective please.
1) better to lose with 9 men than 11
2) the performance was as good as we’ve seen since Wenger
3) we can still make top 4,easily
4) luck evens itself out over a season so we’re due a cracking run in.

Gooner223

Glass half full. Atta boy!

El Mintero

Well said Ozzie. Completely agree.

Longbow

You know top 4 isn’t that unrealistic if we keep playing the way we are right now until the end of the season. The problem is we haven’t done say for a while now.
But, imagine if we actually kept playing like this till the end of the season. We would definitely win Europa and get top 4.

S.p2

We can still make top 4, easily… mate, come on now…

Lula

Felt for Pepe. Auba offered nothing. Always mitigating circumstances one can point to. But hes a worry. I wanted a runner to come on and so was looking for Martinelli because Auba isnt that any more.

Murphy was an Arsenal Fan

This comment gave me serious Wenger vibes. I don’t know, but it did.

bored

Wenger vibes? Nah, I didn’t see it.

davorsuker

Hate to say, but gives me a bit of good memories constantly tracking what ManUtd does plus using the f word quite oftentimes. Wish this huge rivalry between the two sides would evolve once again… Being able to feel the excitement on Monday by the thought of our visit to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon… Or was it just the blessing of an emotionally intense childhood era? I don’t think so.
Fucking lucky morons they are!

karl

I wouldn’t blame the players for creating loads of chances and being a little unlucky. More like bizarre rules on giving a red card for Jose (could he have a worse name?) after he kicked Luiz’s knee.

Penalty, but no red.

Auba auba laca partey

It is soft yes but It is a foul, he was behind him at full speed, clipped him with is knee, it is a penalty. It was foolish, naive from an experienced player like Luiz to get that close. We were in total control until that point and we press the self destruction mode. It is not the first time, he is even known for that. It is a mistake from Arteta to trust such a mistake prone guy. It undermines the whole team. You never see Holding do that kind of mistake!?

Qwaliteee

If Saka’s goal stands, we go on to win – no two ways about it. Fine margins, but the team is definitely beginning to pick up and improve.

And that’s good news – surely something we all want.

Pigious

In other news water is wet and fire burns