Arteta: I’ll always back players who try to play my way

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Mikel Arteta says he’ll always support his players if they make a mistake trying to implement his playing philosophy but admits Arsenal aren’t going to progress if they keep making costly errors at the back.

The Gunners dropped two points at Turf Moor on Saturday as Burnley came from behind to secure a 1-1 draw after Chris Wood, anticipating a Granit Xhaka pass across his own box, cancelled out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s opener.

On a frustrating afternoon, the Gunners were later denied a penalty when Erik Pieters clearly handled in the box and then saw a spot-kick correctly overturned after the Dutchman blocked a Nicolas Pepe shot onto the bar with his shoulder. Just for good measure, Bukayo Saka and Pepe missed other golden chances before Dani Ceballos hit the post deep into stoppage time.

After the match, Arteta was quizzed on the costly mistakes that continue to pepper the Gunners games.

“We are talking about it all the time and just trying to nullify anything that we give to the opponent,” he said.

“In the last few weeks, we have done that. We have to improve that individually, as in the end we have to make decisions on the pitch and it looks easy from the outside. It’s not that easy away from home, but if someone makes a mistake because they’re playing the way we want to play, I will always support them. If someone is hiding and doesn’t want to play and then makes a mistake, I’m not going to have that.”

As he did in his interview with BT Sport, the boss defended his preferred style of play pointing out that opponents are perfectly capable of creating chances when his side opt to clear the ball long and that building from the back also led to his side scoring.

“Yes, but it can happen in football,” he said when asked if he was frustrated by the manner of the goal. “We did it usually with Bernd trying to use the holding midfielder in that situation and we scored a goal with Auba, all the way from Bernd Leno.

“We conceded one [other] chance and that chance comes from Bernd Leno deciding to kick the ball long and we could not control the second ball with an open structure. It’s what it is, it’s the way that we play and the way that I want to play. We just have to know the risk and the rules that we have in certain areas in terms of the type of balls we have to play. But it is what it is.”

The Gunners are currently labouring in 10th place in the Premier League and time is running out to build the necessary momentum for a genuine shot at European qualification via domestic means.

“It’s really complicated at the moment,” admitted Arteta. “It’s true that the feeling that I have with the way we are playing is that we can win any game, but as well, as you mentioned before, if you are giving something to the opponent, obviously the game is all the time on the line. This is where, in my opinion, we have the biggest margin of improvement. But anything can happen.”

While Arteta was at pains to make clear his players only have themselves to blame, he did also touch on the failure of VAR to award his side a penalty.

“We created, but we didn’t score enough. We gave a goal to the opponent and then don’t get the decision that we should get. It then becomes very difficult to win the game.

“I think it’s obvious and clear [the handball], I think there is no debate about that. If that is not a penalty, then would someone explain what a penalty is in this league.”

Arsenal have a couple of days to regroup before heading to Athens to face Olympiacos on Thursday.

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Walter White

I like Artetas way because we are improving every match. But he needs more quality in midfield or mistakes will happen again and again.

The guy from Brighton would be nice

NorthernGooner

yep…..marked improvement from the last game…

Arteta’s Arsenal only seem to play “well” when their backs are against the wall and it’s make or break time, but can’t string a steady run of results, let alone play convincing football.

I like Arteta, I want to like him and I really wish he becomes highly successful at Arsenal but so far, 18 months into his tenure, I see nothing that tells me that will be the case.

Comedian

I like Arteta too but seeing reiss and martinelli getting zero game time over Willian makes no sense and both are miles better. Arteta might be trying to introduce a culture but he is also responsible for the revenue generation. Shoving the young talents to the bench and sticking with likes of Mustafi when he himself had declared he was leaving just gives me doubts on Mikel’s management. Also this looks more similar to Emery’s 1st year at the club, when he could have qualified for CL by just winning the last few games in the league he went mellow… Read more »

HARRY

He is destroying Martinelli confidence and development I feel sad for the kid, this is how gnabry got frustrated and decided to leave. Because gnabry came back from injury and when he came back IWOBI was already ahead of him Wenger didn’t play gnabry because IWOBI was doing well so Wenger sent gnabry on loan to get him games which I believe Wenger handled gnabry situation very well unfortunately at westbrom he didn’t the games Wenger hop3d he would get to help his fitness form and rhythm. Then instead of calling him back in January Wenger left him there. This… Read more »

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

If MA doesn’t see the special talent Martinelli has, he needs to find himself another job.

Dave Roberts

You can’t criticize Arteta for managing like Pep. Check the EPL Table and see how Pep is doing. If anything, he should be more like Pep, not less. And ruining Martinelli’s career? He’s only 19 for gosh sake.

Ozzie

Why are we going on and on about the mistake that cost us a goal, over and above the 5 or 6 equally costly errors at the other end?

Xhaka (and Leno), Saka, Pepe, Auba, Partey and VAR all made errors, any one of them doesn’t happen and we win that game.

Blahblah

Looking back at the replay now, I’m not sure if Leno is too culpable of leaking that goal. When he received the ball, he has virtually two options, either pass it to Xhaka ( who had quite a bit of space around him and had also made himself available to take the ball) or play it long (Wood and Gudmundsson were smartly tracking Luiz and Mari respectively). Since Arteta has made it clear that he wants the team to play from the back, Leno was virtually left with just the one option. Am not bashing Xhaka here, but conceding that… Read more »

TeeCee

Worse than that. Rewind a bit further and you find Xhaka calling for the ball in midfield. It gets passed back to Leno. A visibly pissed off Xhaka goes back for it, taking his marker with him and putting Leno under more pressure for kicks and giggles. Xhaka calls for the ball, Wood is covering the angle to the two free players on the right, Leno does what he’s asked to do. Xhaka could have cut the ball to his left directly, but elects to take another touch, giving Wood all the time in the world to cover a pass… Read more »

Francesc

Xhaka – serving us the same shit since 2016

mrugunner

consistency!

Bergkamp2Wright

It was only a matter of time.

PB70

so about the same amount of tine youve been whining?

Anders Limpar

And I watched Willock and AMN both hungry and putting a shift in this afternoon. Neither are perfect and they both need to develop and mature. But would it have been such a terrible thing to put them in the middle with Partey this season instead of the idiot.

Obiking

AMN would give us so much mobility in midfield and has the technical ability to dribble out of tight situations. Xhaka only has long passes in his locker.

Francesc

Looks like we paid 72m for missing sitters

karl

Every time Pepe starts to play well, Arteta removes him from the starting lineup and he loses momentum.

IamaGoober

I dont think there is any real defense of Pepe in my opinion. His performances have been so poor bar a few flashes since he arrived. Furthermore, youth players have come into the side and out performed him on a regular basis. Arteta basically signed Willian because he knew Pepe couldn’t be trusted, and yeah of course that’s been a terrible signing as well, but I think that kinda speaks for itself in a way. If Pepe had been playing anywhere near as good as some portions of the Arsenal fan base have been making him out to be, then… Read more »

Francesc

Still no excuse for missing a sitter like that

karl

Auba misses loads of chances, but the trick is to not let it affect confidence. Pepe never had a long run in the team.

Avo84

This

Javoroncov

Yeah sure it’s easy to play well in 20 minutes, when it’s clear that no matter how well you do you will be dropped for the coach’s 32 year old favorite.

Hank Scorpio

You’ve got to wonder what will happen with Pepe and Martinelli if Arteta persists with Willian as first choice ahead of those 2 for the next 2 years. That’s assuming he’ll still be managing Arsenal in 2 years.

Gabigol

I thought that he caused Burnley a few problems and changed the momentum of the game.

Sure he missed a goal but he got us into the box and got shots on target.

If it wasn’t for a lack of VAR we would have seen a penalty from his work.

Francesc

Partey needs to take more initiative in the midfield coz he is capable of that

Zet

He can’t..because his partner is playing like shit.
To be honest, both our defensive midfielder are shit today.

Titi-forker

And it’s worrying because it’s only freaking Burnley! I fear we’ll soon drag Partey down to Elneny’s level.

karl

I wouldn’t heap blame on Xhaka for this, as it is a consequence of playing from the back. There were plenty of chance and this game is Arsenal 20/21 in a nutshell. Never capitalising whilst being on top.

IamaGoober

I am sorry, but it is totally Xhakas fault. He had to punch that ball out first time to Luiz but he didn’t do it because he’s not good enough for Arsenal. He loses concentration all of the time, and he constantly does stuff like this in games. Normally he gets away with it, so it goes unnoticed, but he is always giving the ball away in central areas in our half and thats not an understatement. Everyone gives Elneny loads of grief for not being good enough, but in my opinion I would start him every game over Xhaka… Read more »

Eoghan O

Unpopular opinion probably but partey hasn’t shown enough in the games he’s played.. I know it might take time to adjust but it hasn’t been what I expected. Xhaka on the other hand has never been good enough. A few good games recently doesn’t make up for years of mediocrity. We need a proper midfielder to accompany Thomas.

Viv the 🐐

I have to agree that Partey gives the ball away very cheaply the last few games. He does some passes that no one else can do for Arsenal, but I agree with you that there were a couple of questionable stuff in those games. But not enough …. would you think Elneny would have done enough? I would take Partey still over everyone else.
Strengthening midfield is the Number one priority, besides RB. We have to get some in very early and not let things hang around for too long.

Gabigol

The apprentice is elneny or ceballos.

Partey is light years ahead in his build up play and press breaking.

You replace him with two players who can’t do that, especially alongside Xhaka.

Perhaps we should be thinking of combinations which allow Partey more time and space in the ball in better position…

Runcorn Gooner

Snatching Draw/Defeat from the jaws of victory. It’s the Arsenal way too often to be a top team currently.

gus

same shit story from the pretender—–we are languishing mid table with no hope

SGP_GNR

Hi Blogs

Is there a reason why I have not been able to access Arseblog on my iPhone since March 3?

I am doing this on my MB.

Alex

I have the same issue. I use Mozilla Firefox on iPhone and the last article is the Bacon one from 3rd. When I switch to Safari, it works

SGP_GNR

I was on Safari. No matter, it’s back up now. Thanks

Chris

I would try clearing your cache and or browsing or history to see if that helps.

Rhys

I had it too, wipe the browser cache and it will be fine

Torterrier

I’ve never had a negative word to say about Arteta but the more I think about it the more I believe losses like this are totally on him. He keeps putting out the same players who let him down every time. Xhaka has been a calamity since he joined Arsenal and he’ll never be any different sadly. Until Arteta realises this Arsenal won’t get anywhere. I hate to say it, but if Arteta doesn’t learn from this soon he could be on his way out the door and Arsenal could be in an even darker place.

Torterrier

I know it was a draw, but it felt like a loss.

Murphy was an Arsenal Fan

What you said is true. While he is rightly panned for not consistently supporting all players, the seniors whom he does support let him down too many times.

Viv the 🐐

I think that is a thing of most managers, that they are behind some people, and not others. Just think about Wenger and Ox, Walcott, Gibbs, Ramsey, Wilshere. Every Manager has that. In Artetas case it is Willian and Xhaka. Though in Xhakas case, we have only Ceballos as an option. And look at Ceballos last week. If we don’t get our act together in the summer, we will be the Everton WITHOUT Moyes. With a fancier stadium. And they are also building a new one. I’m just praying for some good decisions in the summer, though I don’t think… Read more »

Gabigol

Don’t understand why this is directed at Mikel.

Probably same stuff that made us anti Wenger as a person not just his managerial decisions.

When the biggest issue to the squad profile has been the waste of money by Raul.

Torterrier

It’s directed at Mikel because he picks the players to play. I think I explained it pretty clearly in my original post. Although, I agree with you that the club has been mismanaged by those in senior positions.

fabler

COYG

Johnny 2 Bad

So annoying! Arteta is mismanaging the talent at his disposal. Why should we be his training ground? Pragmatism eludes him.

Biggles

Well, we have to be his “training ground”, as you say, because we’re his first club as a manager. He is literally learning on the job. That was always going to be the case from the day he was appointed.

He’s certainly not got everything right but what alternative is there other than let him work through problems – one way or another? He’s been in charge for little over one year so I think we’re asking a bit much for the same approach, pragmatic or not, as someone who’s been doing the job for five, ten, years or whatever.

Jimbo

Well that just seems like bad management from above.
They cocked up the Wenger replacement because they sacked him with no replacement ready.

Emery was certainly no one’s 1st choice. They flirted with arteta before deciding it was too big a job for someone with no experience.
Then wouldn’t back Emery in the transfer market and sign the players he wanted.

Arteta seems to have their backing which is obviously positive. But do far he is making a pig’s ear of things and we are stuck with him now for at least another season despite very poor results

HenryKamp

Better was/ is never a training ground for Hans Dieter Flick. It was his first management of the same team inherited by Kovac and look where they’re now. Last night they were 2 down in 9 minutes. Final whistle 4-2.

HenryKamp

*Bayern

Sachin

You do know their squad and team-building is light year’s ahead? C’mon be practical.

Homer

The guy is a joke.
Emery had us higher in the table.

At what will people wake up to the fact that MA isnt the answer. Too late Im afraid.

Nice guy. Crap football manager.

Sachin

Nice guy. Crap football manager.

You are neither.

MojoWillneny

Xhaka’s clown show is who he is. He’s plays well for the 10 matches or so, then single handedly puts us in position to lose points with his play. The real disappointment today was our reaction to his clown show. We responded extremely well against Leicester but today our cohesion and our intensity dropped after we conceded. There’s nothing left in the Premier for us but we can use these remaining deadwood matches to shore up our overall team mentality.

Torterrier

Rumour has it that Arteta’s favourite song is Send in the Clowns by Stephen Sondheim.

No foot Norbert

Emery lost the dressing room and had to be sacked. I prefer the way we play now compared to when emery was in charge. With emery it seemed like we were riding our luck and he eventually got found out. With arteta it’s more the players letting him down and bad luck. He seems to be setting the team up well for matches and we beat ourselves. I saw a stat that arsenal are the least dispossessed in the league. We really do beat ourselves.

SarcasmB0T

To be fair, the players had been playing for Emery, until the same players started letting him down – at which point the team lost out on the Champions League (thanks, Granit) and imploded in the Europa League final – which led to the fans’ discontentment – which led to Emery losing the dressing room.

If there had been fans in the stadium during the October-November disaster, these same players would likely have downed tools again and we’d be managed by Tuchel now.

Titi-forker

If we transform this club into a circus we might actually win something. So many natural talents here🤡

HenryKamp

That’s exactly what Emery did and in the end he was sacked. Based on stats Arteta is not better than Emery how would anyone call that an upgrade for being Pep’s disciple!

8 – Since the start of 2016-17, Granit Xhaka has made more errors leading to goals (8) than any other outfield player in the Premier League. Disaster.

Biggles

Yes, that’s true to a point but being assistant to a top manager is nothing like being in charge yourself. He obviously didn’t take the mass of day to day decisions that his boss, Pep, took (or that Emery was used to taking) because Pep was in charge and that’s what it’s all about in the end. Arteta has a lot to learn and he’s having to do it under great pressure, albeit it some caused by his decisions, but that’s the only way it can be, surely.

georgekorda

Since the start of the 2016-17 season Xhaka played 100+ games in the league. Are we comparing him to a player who made made 2 errors but played 15 games in total? What does this stat tell us? It’s really spectacular but not too much context is involved, not very informative. This looks to be a bit of a bullshit stat.

SarcasmB0T

You make it sound like Granit Xhaka is one of very few midfielders who have been playing consistently since 2016. He’s not.

The more glaring issue is that most other players who make this many costly errors don’t get to play this many games – because they’re dropped and replaced by players who don’t.

Canmore Gunner

Really tired of this bullshit masquerading as professional sport. I get the Burnley goal was a clown show. But I think the real story was what happened after – Arsenal couldn’t score another in an hour of futility. We have become a poor mid table team, without any capacity to assert ourselves against other also rans. Even when we win it seems more by fluke or happenstance. We were lucky to get past Benfica – certainly didn’t dominate anything. It has been a good ten years since we seemed a threatening side.

Murphy was an Arsenal Fan

I do not think Leicester away was a fluke. There is an alarming lack of consistency, yes. But to dismiss the entire way Arsenal played against Leicester or Chelsea, or United away as fluke or happenstance is short-termism taken to the extreme.

To then extend it to every point of the past ten years?

No foot Norbert

Also that first game against benfica we should have been 4 ahead. It’s the players that are the problem. Too much shit in the squad, everyone’s moaning about selection but who is there to replace these players?

Titi-forker

Leicester had a really bad game and it was not because we played well. If you’ve been following Leicester you could tell they were way below their typical standard in that game.

Santori

Xhaka made a mistake with his pass but I blame this entirely o the gaffer. There are several issues. Firstly Leno was playing the ball to xhaka who will be under pressure. why not just hit it long? Then Xhaka is under pressure, just knock it out. But chiefly, why are we so rigid playing out form the back? …why do we keep insisting on playing around the 6 yard box is beyond me. How we are so telegraphed and slow picking our way out from the back is solely on the manager. I did not see Burnley havinga problem… Read more »

Homer

Anyone with eyeballs agrees with this comment.

But were now supposed to not believe what we see: MA is the new pep. Auba is world class.

Neither are true. Not even close.

A P

Tough luck convincing those who only open their mouths wider to fit Arteta’s third testicle if he has one.

Santori

This will continue to happen. If its not Xhaka it will be someone-else bc Arteta’s system is so dogmatic and does not make sense. I dont’ see other teams apply this play out of the box system as much as we do (Bar City but they have better players) Leno firstly feels obliged to pass the ball to Xhaka who is under duress heading back to goal. Just hit it long. Xhaka feels oblige to find a teammate in very difficult situation. Just clear left to touch. But this is an Arteta issue. …as per usual many people will feel… Read more »

PB70

As per usual…you’re you.

Santori

…and we are as I mentioned for a while now still in tenth(likely we are actually further down) People who felt Arteta was the messiah need to stop taking opiate. I mentioned when Wenger Out felt it could ‘only get better’ that it could also get much much worse. I don’t see enough improvements and we will have issues this summer. Many people want to replace Xhaka or Bellerin but in truth if we can even retain them, it would help bc there are so many holes in this squad and we won’t generate enough money on sales again to… Read more »

Twatsloch

I absolutely hate that Burnley, this shit team, got one over on us again. I can live with someone better, or even someone less good but who is organised or plays with a lot of heart, beating us. But Burnley??? Fuck off!

Murphy was an Arsenal Fan

Wolves and Burnley feel like Stoke away (not the physicality, that was Stoke being a gang of thugs) in the way we find ways to not win

Twatsloch

Wolves are a decent team. They actually play football. Burnley? Meh!

SarcasmB0T

A thousand times this.

Alex

Get players who can play your way first

No foot Norbert

These players can’t play any way evidenced by them letting down 4 managers now

Gabigol

Martinez.

Hard to ignore his great build up play. He reduced the numbers passes leading to a goal…

Bleeding gums murphy

And another clean sheet yesterday. Leno is decent but Martinez is better.

Homer

No. He really isnt better.

Homer

Fucking jog on with martinez shit.

Ya might was well bang in about fabregas. Or rvp.

Billp79

We need to get rid of dross players who don’t know how to use both feet

SB Still

Sleep in the bed that one makes.

Arteta pays the price for the choices he makes.

Continues to pick his players on seniority although it was the youngsters who got him out of jail!

Jimbo

Is this why he let Martinez go?. EMI seemed to make his own choices of when playing out was a good idea. Despite being very good with the ball.

Gabigol

Richard Garlick can’t start soon enough. We need to lobby the FA and Premier League about the ridiculous decisions being made by VAR

And it affects the whole game. Not just one team or league or club. Everyone. Referees, fans, players.

This comes from poor decision making. Doing a Big Bang approach to a footballing innovation including expensive technology investment which ultimately is human controlled and not more efficient or faster at all.

I can’t see it improving until humans take up the slack. By which time we will all be fed up with it

Kareem Mohamed

You know what, Mikel makes a good point overall.

He is the one who keeps picking Xhaka to play.
And he is the one who insists on players like Xhaka playing out from the back.

Maybe Arteta is the wrong man for Arsenal.
He needs to make better choices as a coach or leave.

At the end of the day, I truly hope he is willing to change because I do think he has potential.

Chandra Raj

No wonder Xhaka is getting so much support from Arteta. Lol!

dylbom

Agree with much of what has been said… loads of respect for Arteta as a person, but there is little doubt that a better coach (not the “best there is”, but say a Rodgers) would have us minimum 10-12 points better off right now with the same squad, luck and circumstances. As for this match, the most telling thing one can say is that a point away at Burnley is a decent result for a mid-table side which struggles to create high-quality scoring chances and/or work opposition goalkeepers. There is no disputing that is where we now find ourselves, and… Read more »

allezkev

Test

Doghouse

Not the end of the world if we don’t make a euro place this season, not liking a step backwards but when chelski finished 10th in 2016/17 season and being out of European games they won premier next season, not only having to play a comp against euros alsorans and the Thursday/Sunday bollocks this could be the setback needed, Miki would have a less injury proned squad more time on training and no excuse if we are not in top 4 next season, I have absolute faith in Miki, we are going in the right direction..

A P

You are being serious when you wrote we could miss out on Europe. But to win the PL next season is truly a laugh.

Doghouse

Said top4

A P

Apologies. I read the entire passage but the Chelsea reference made a deeper impression.

allezkev

Testing

Dave Roberts

Mikel’s tactic is too encourage the opposition press. It’s deliberate. The closer they are pressing, the better the chance we have at breaking out, as in our goal.

Dave Roberts

Xhaka has been much more reliable and productive with Partey by his side. He’s a tough guy in midfield, it’s just that this shank pass was a disaster.

SarcasmB0T

Tough guys don’t throw hissy fits when booed.

Though guys know they should if they’ve lost their cool and said something they shouldn’t have.

Tough guys don’t repeatedly take themselves out of difficult games and fold under pressure.

Xhaka isn’t a tough guy. He does, however, like to play-act the tough guy when there’s a referee protecting him from the other fella.

He’s never been good enough. He should be sold if anybody wants to pay him what he’s on – which I doubt.

allezkev

Testing 2