Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Arteta on the win, a nervous finish, progress & dropping Auba

Mikel Arteta praised his players’ intensity and spirit as Arsenal came from behind to take the spoils in the North London derby.

Martin Odegaard cancelled out Erik Lamela’s opener before Alex Lacazette – a late replacement for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who was benched for disciplinary reasons – sealed a 2-1 win with a second half penalty.

While the Gunners produced a very dominant performance, they nearly let the three points slip through their fingers even after Sp*rs played the final 15 minutes with 10 men following Lamela’s dismissal.

After the game, the boss admitted his players need to get better at managing their nerves. Here’s the transcript from his interview with Sky Sports

On how much credit his players deserve…

Full credit. To do it the way we did it today after two and a half days [preparation] after coming back from Europe, to play the intensity and to show the quality that we did and the spirit that we showed throughout the game, it was incredible. Going one-nil down after the way we were playing was very disappointing and probably the worst-case scenario against a team like Spurs. But we reacted with a lot of personality. We kept playing and we deserved the win. 

On the final 10 minutes…

The last 10 minutes was probably the worst we’ve played. We could not manage the game, we could not manage the tension. We should have done much better and that’s something we need to improve as a team. 

On being reliant on luck at the end…

We were too reliant on luck [in the final minutes]. The way we played the game we should have won the game in a more comfortable way. We should have seen out the game in a much more comfortable position. Things to improve! 

On making good headway down the left…

We prepared the game the game trying to exploit some areas that we believed we could. We have to give credit to the players. We had some really strong performances today. Individually they really stood up and then you could see the energy that they were playing with. When you do it that way, you have a chance to win. It [the win] is totally up to them. 

On whether he thought it might not be Arsenal’s day…

No, but this is football. It is about how you react and this team has shown recently that they have the reaction within them. They are not going to give up, they keep trying and keep believing. We kept playing, generating chances and a lot of good situations and we got rewarded for that.

On how this season’s two derbies compare…

A lot [of progress], but I think we played quite well in the previous one. They are so efficient. They don’t need much to score a goal or create dangerous situations. You’ve seen that again today. The first goal that Lamela scored was pure quality. It’s an incredible goal. We have a lot to improve but we’re going in the right direction.

On the penalty…

I haven’t seen it but on the bench they said it was clear. 

On Aubameyang being dropped…

We have a way of living together, we have to respect each other. That’s it. He’s an incredible guy, he’s probably one of the most important players in the team, he’s our captain. These things happen, we move forward and enjoy the victory tonight and dedicate it to our fans.

On it being more disappointing because he’s captain…

These things happen in football. We have 24 [players], there’s a lot of things going on in our lives which people are finding really difficult under the restrictions that we have. It’s part of our job. 

On whether Aubameyang was late…

I will never tell you anything that happens in that dressing room. I can tell you the reason but not the facts.

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Better game management needed at the end but otherwise great.

We just need to be more savvy and avoid silly mistakes and we can do well.

Var Will Solve The Problem

I can imagine the conversation in my head between Round and Arteta prior to the game.
Steve Round: “Mikel, here’s the game plan for the best case scenrio if we are 2-1 up with a man advantage. Care to look?”
Mikel Arteta (laughs manically): “Oh Steven! Steven! So naive, you are. A best case scenario against that lot managed by that cunt? Buy me a lottery, why dont you!…lets concetrate on the worst case scenario, shall we?”
(Mikel Throws the papers in the shredder and walks off laughing!).
And you folks know the rest!

Johnny 4 Hats

Without being too delusional about tepid performances, luck has really eluded us multiple times this season. I think on balance we deserve a few let offs given that we’ve been horrendously punished for all manner of misdemeanours up until now. And to be fair, bar the last fifteen when we started to overthink every pass, we owned them. When they scored you just couldn’t believe it. I think at one stage it was 13 shots to 1 and we were a goal down. In the end the best team won. Mourinho will hide behind refereeing “mistakes” but he knows he… Read more »

A Different George

I genuinely don’t understand the argument about the penalty. It is true the ball was already gone, but think of a midfielder who passes the ball –and is then taken out by an opponent with his body and his legs, while getting nowhere near the ball. That’s a foul (and a yellow card) anywhere on the pitch.

And if it happened to us, I would be furious at our idiot defender (I nominate Xhaka, though it’s been a while since he actually did one of those) who gave away a penalty with a completely needless challenge.

Johnny 4 Hats

Perhaps. But I think the contact is as much Laca kicking the defender as the other way round. The defender has to be allowed to attempt to block a shot and Laca’s foot comes right through due to the terrible connection and kicks the Spud.

It’s six of one and half a dozen of the other really. Both players feet move towards the other but contact takes place far closer to Sanchez’ body than Laca’s.

But as I said, no complaints whatsoever.

Ordnance Dave

If anything Laca missing the ball makes it a penalty, the ball was still possibly there to be played afterwards, if not for Sanchez taking Laca out. That’s a foul anywhere else on the pitch.

Non flyong dutchman

I think thays the nub of it. Realistically Laca isnt getting a second swing butbits a penalty because thebchallange removes even that slightest possibility.

When inevitably Xhaka, is making that challange he is getting sent off by 95% of referees. Ironically ita the one decent one officiating that game though


Hate Jenas as Spuds, but love & can RESPECT his fiery reactions/response to the penalty call… BUT !!! I suspect if the situation were reversed, he would the first to say….. “The defender was lunging at the striker at full speed, GOT NOTHING AT ALL of the Ball, but Clearly Got the Man, anywhere else on the pitch, its a foul, and a free kick,… this happens in the box, so it Gotta Be a Penalty, …and a red card, Full Stop, no if, no buts.” Meanwhile, disappointed with our pundit Martin Keown meek response to Jenas, “I thought it was… Read more »


My view was the ball was still in play. The slice was so bad, it was still possible to chase after it, and it was a foul

Johnny 4 Hats

Yeah, I think in the eyes of VAR, who really just look for contact, it’s a penalty.

But what else is the Spud supposed to do? He doesn’t lunge at Laca but rather towards a hypothetical shot. His eyes are always on making the block. If he stops moving and allows Laca to get off an unimpeded shot then he looks like a right softie.

Crash Fistfight

Yeah, I’ve got to admit I wasn’t sure about it at the time. I’d probably be moaning if it went against us as well. Having reviewed the posts above, I now understand why it was a penalty.

Still can’t understand why the one last week wasn’t given, though. (especially as we were given one for the very same thing the week before)

A Different George

No one is claiming that Sanchez is purposely clattering Lacazette. He is trying to play the ball. Instead, he (quite clearly in my opinion) fouls him. Again, just picture the exact same thing in the midfield. It is a free kick, and almost certainly a yellow card. The argument, stripped to its essentials, comes down to “you don’t deserve a penalty for a foul in the penalty area unless it affects the chance of scoring.” I might agree for a minor shove by a defender as a winger tries to dribble past him. This was a clear-cut foul.

Non flyong dutchman

Half of the issues are only getting debated because its the medias golden boys on the wrong end of the result.

Hopefullybweve given Zagreb a template for takingbrhe game to them and their season starts imploding in spectacular fashion


100% penalty

Sanchez is late, nowhere near the ball, and clatters Lacazette

What the hell were they smoking in the SkySports studio?


Who were today’s cundits?


Michael Owen, Glen Hoddle, and Ian Wright.


“Michael Owen, Glen Hoddle”

Jesus Christ!

Merlin’s Panini

No, Ian Wright.

naked cygan

He needs to demand we play with the same tempo we did in the first half in every game.if we play like we did early on in every EL match we could win it.


The issue is playing with that intensity every 3-4 days, against teams who don’t play every 3-4 days People can talk about tactics, and I do like the way Arteta has us setup Team cohesion and stability that’s built over time, is a very underrated aspect of building a successful team Teams are assembled through the youth team and transfer market, but they’re built on the training ground, but there’s still a limit to how far good coaching can take a team The main difference between yesterday’s game and the one in December, was Smith-Rowe + Odegaard It might sound… Read more »


Wonder what Auba did that was worse than an unsanctioned trip to Dubai?

Vaibhav Pandey

It was more about matchday ritual of the team for which Auba was late and I am manager would have put up some ground rules for all individuals to follow. I agree with Mikel, if anyone is late or there is a breach of that ritual there will be consequences and I am glad he is flexing his muscle after what we witnessed with Ozil, Mustafi, Papa, Douzi etc. he came out as really strong and objective personality.

Out of this world

What if…what if this was the plan all along as Spurs planned their strategy with Auba in mind? Perhaps Arteta is playing 4D Chess against Mourinho?


So a jaunt to Dubai is not part of the ground rules, I guess.


Yes, my comment was more around the inconsistency of Arteta’s rules once again. I’m not bothered that he dropped him, that’s fair play but it’s how it doesn’t seem to be reciprocated with other players. If being late gets you dropped then fucking off to dubai mid pandemic gets you a behind the scenes slap on the wrist then I have issues with that. But anyway let’s leave this for another discussion and enjoy in the warmth of mashing the spuds!


Credit to xhaka and luiz for being more level headed in that dreadful 10 minutes.

Willian completely looked off pace. Of course brought on to help us control the game but just looked off beat.

#martinelli. Would press better than Willian and offer more vertical threat.

In unrelated news. Welbeck played so well today today against soton. I quite like Graham potter and bissouma.

Vaibhav Pandey

They play good football and my wishes are with Brighton to stay up except that cunt Maupay!

Crash Fistfight

If only they could shoot!


I agree with your comment about Wellbeck, but thought Bissouma was really poor. I’d like to see his % pass completion – I reckon it was about 20.

Crash Fistfight

I don’t get the Bissouma love. I watched that game as well, and didn’t notice him do anything special. I was more interested in Ibrahima Diallo, who I’d never heard of until watching that game. He looks far more enterprising than Bissouma.

We won’t upgrade on Xhaka by having someone tidy and more defensive. They need to have something going forward, as well.


I think we need to be less harsh against the lads after the red. A lot of teams get galvanised after losing a man. Add to that the fact Mikel put on an extra mid and we had no cf means we had to adapt to a new formation instantly. With Mikel coaching methods and way of playing, this is a big ask to be fair to them. That said it was still as tense an atmosphere inside an empty stadium that I’ve seen on tv! loved sticking one over them, and Mikels laughable 4 win run doesn’t seem ridiculous… Read more »

A Different George

I think the argument about the penalty is absurd. The ball had already gone–which is certainly relevant to whether there was a goal-scoring opportunity, but completely irrelevant about whether it was a foul. It obviously was a foul, a reckless tackle nowhere the ball that took out an opponent, with the body as well as the legs. A yellow card anywhere on the pitch–think about doing that to a midfielder after he has passed the ball. It would have been a penalty in 1990 and probably 1970. I can’t speak to the nineteenth century, which is apparently where some “pundits”… Read more »


When we fall to 10 men we become harmless. When we play against 10, we let them back in the game. They created nothing before except a wondergoal.

Better to be more offensive than to invite pressure.

Arteta is not good at substitutions, but very well played against 11 and the best starting line-up we have.


Meanwhile Mourinho keeping it as classy as he can:

“I do not want to call it a penalty because it was an offence to penalties.”

The only offence there was to his big fat ego. Tough titty, Maureen, tough fucking titty!

El Mintero

Careful, you’re not allowed to call him Maureen…that’s disrespectful remember…no brenda Rodgers either mind…lol


I remember the upset. Hence they are Maureen and Brenda forever now. That’s how it works.


Adam La Lama provided an assist for Bale. The wool for his mittens.


Lots of people mentioning Saka injury and average 1st half.. I’ve been saying this since Odegaard has come into the team Saka’s form have dipped a little. Saka plays better with ESR at CAM than Odegaard at CAM because with Odegaard they occupy the same positions because they’re both left footed but more obvious than that is the positions Odegaard likes to take is usually to the right. He has this peculiar style of passing and dropping to the right instead of passing and running behind to receive a give and go. Because of this Saka has less room to… Read more »


I wonder if I’m one of the few that thinks Saka isn’t playing that poorly? I think he’s doing alright actually, winning a lot of fouls, committing players, getting into dangerous positions.

The thing that’s changed significantly is the amount of attention he’s getting from the opposition. I do think as well that ESR had a tendency to find him quicker and overlap him, creating space for him to come inside. But the main things seems to me that he’s drawing more fouls.


I agree SAKA hasn’t dipped in form at all but he can’t create and affect games as he normally does because Odegaard is in his way almost all the time. That right side gets congested. Odegaard needs to learn to stay in pocket and run behind more stretch defenders and create space for Saka to cut in or stay in pocket wait for Saka pass and do a one two with him, give and go pass. instead of dropping to his position and giving Saka no choice but to pass back to the RB because Odegaard is in his way.… Read more »

El Mintero

I agree 100%. It’s just another Ozil/Willian situation all over again…you see a “technically gifted” but “overlooked” player available who can’t get a start in his own team and you bring him to Arsenal and despite the fact we have superior players in the position he plays you try and wedge him in anyway and in doing so fck everything else up by not playing your best players in their best positions. Blogs will rate Odegaard motm every game for a flick here and a flick there but the truth is playing him means no starting Pepe (our most dangerous… Read more »

Once a gunner

Good@Arteta for breaking Morinho’s voodoo

Non flyong dutchman

Wenger beat Mourinos United in 2017. Meaningless game for both sides but the hoodoo had been broken already (and indeed Arsenal had beaten his Chelsea side in the community shield at the start of the season before… i believe with Arteta still about at the time though i might be wrong.) This is perhaps the most meaningful of the three results (is it? Maybe because its them lot much as i dont like either of the other two clubs). But point is Mourinho is a shadow of what he was, the game has passed him by and long may his… Read more »


It was a right decision to drop Auba from the squad. The team rules apply to all the players and no player is bigger than the club. Motherfucker better realize Arsenal is not a country club(like Sp*rs).


While I agree, I think has we lost, Arteta woods have been crucified. Managers have to make tough decisions and I thought he got this one right win or lose. Also he owns his decisions and keeps it in house. Although I don’t always like his decisions, I like his style.


The media really do push and push on a bit of gossip don’t they 🤦‍♂️ Yes yes Auba was late it seems and he paid the price, we move on.

Great win today, so pleased!


Next time the captain starts, he will score 4 goals. Mark my words


Fully back his decision regardless of the outcome of the game, albeit it’s much easier to say now. Coulda smashed 4 or 5 on them without Auba shows we’re headed in the right direction.

In Arteta We Trust – COYG

Danger Mouse

Arteta will be great for us if we give him a bit of time. Really encouraging signs in many aspects. Very good performance today in many ways though of course there are obvious flaws that need addressing. Arteta is the right man I feel and I like that he dropped Auba for lateness. That takes guts and a clear idea of what you expect from your players. That is leadership from Mikel and that’s what we need.


Played really well all game but the moment THEY went down to 10, we played like idiots.

What gives?

We will also need to show repeat performance against WHam next before we can conclude anything from today. But positives to take into forthcoming matches.


I think we can conclude that Sp*rs are shit.


A given. Even when they were good. Whenever that was.


Since Boxing Day, we have not been outplayed in a single match. In fact, in all the matches we’ve drawn or lost in that time, the majority have been due to self-inflicted stupid mistakes. The team is learning to be confident playing in Arteta’s system. Multiple players being rotated in and out of the same position are playing well.
I’m actually expecting Arsenal to win football matches again. Been a long time since I’ve felt that way. I believe in what Arteta displaying on the pitch. Something resembling Arsenal Football Club is finally emerging…


Spot on. Up The Gunners.


I agree that City was a match to forget.

The Arsenal

Dont know why everyone is so surprised at the moment…The team is what it is…In transition with a new manager…as in a NEW manager, starting at one of the biggest clubs but also one of the worst run clubs since 2006. He will make mistakes. Considering when they both took over and who the far more seasoned manager is in Mourinho and the tools available who has done the better job and whose ‘process’ looks the likelier to bear fruit in the next 3/4 seasons.


For all the Mikel Arteta haters:

There is one undeniable, hugely encouraging, and DEFINITE measure of progress under him in the very right direction (courtesy of Pedro from LeGrove):

In 15 months, Arteta has taken down all of the top 6 managers, Mourinho the most irritating of them all’

Under Mikel Arteta we are witnessing not just the birth of a new Arsenal, but the birth of a new dynasty as a worthy successor to the one Arsene Wenegr built 25 years ago.


IDGAF if our game management was shaky, or Laca missed chances, or if Partey was out to lunch at times.
In this effed up COVID year, we beat those fuckers and made Merdinho unhappy.

Well done, boys. Well done.


By not following protocol Auba put Arteta in a difficult spot, and with no choice but to demonstrate no one is bigger than the team, conduct baselines are for all. I am a bit surprised he shared this reason, maybe it was evident it could not be kept a secret. The fact he publicly shared the reason to be breach of conduct makes me believe it’s not the 1st time.

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