Arteta on a poor first half, Saka and Leno’s saves

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Mikel Arteta says Arsenal can’t keep relying on Bukayo Saka to produce game-changing moments but he admits his side needed one tonight from the England international. 

Villarreal looked odds-on favourites to secure a place in the Europa League final when they were two goals up against 10 men but Saka’s determined run into the box sparked a revival in fortunes as he won a penalty that was converted by Nicolas Pepe. 

After Etienne Capoue followed Dani Ceballos for an early bath, the Gunners might have grabbed an equaliser but substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang couldn’t convert his stoppage-time chance. 

Here’s what Arteta had to say after the 2-1 defeat

On the result…

If you have to lose, this is probably the best result we could have. It was two different halves. 

On what changed at half time…

We started to be us. In the first half, there were so many moments when we weren’t us. We weren’t clear with our high press. We disorganised ourselves. We started to chase. We were not precise with the ball or occupying the right spaces. Then we didn’t have enough control. When we found good combinations we didn’t have enough threat or enough desire to attack the opponents’ box. In the second half, it was completely different. 

On Saka…

We are very used to that this season. As well, that tells us that we need to do much more in other areas. We cannot rely all the time on him. We needed a moment of magic and he produced it again. 

On Leno…

He was very good when we needed him. At 2-0, the chance that they had with Gerard [Moreno] was the biggest one that they had and he saved us. At the end, we had a big chance with Auba one-versus-one with the keeper and we were unable to draw the game. 

On being confident ahead of the second leg…

I am confident, we’ve given ourselves a chance to win, for sure.

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Scored at the Clock End

Mikel our lucky General

john

This is really on Arteta, trying to too clever with no striker and 4 attacking midfielders. He is not pep and we are not city! I know injuries forced his hand but you can have Martinelli start such an important game!

C’mon Arteta, you really need to get this right, you don’t have City’s squad at your disposal! !

And one of the reasons we got back into the game was Villareal sitting back!

Comedian

Behind the scenes is no excuse for Arteta. How he still doesnt know his best 11 is kinda making me doubt him? Just glad we still in the tie thanks individual brilliance than tactics. I was very critical of emery for this very reason, but Arteta system aint there yet…..he just has to get us over the line now.

john

I understand it doesn’t really look good and his recent over reliance on Laca isn’t great either. Laca is not consistent and should be sold this summer and we shouldn’t pump money into another aging forward. Auba has had worst year since anybody can remember. He clearly doesn’t trust Eddie and Martinelli is way off to play like Laca. He needs to somehow need to win Europa league. And Laca may prove crucial because bad blood from last final. It’s a big mess but I would love to give arteta another year but we should improve both in performance and… Read more »

Daveo

The thing not discussed is the effort. Villareal were first to everything, they wanted it, the turned up. Arsenal dis not, they rather walk over to their mates in the opposition. And before you say Villareal did it too, all the interactions took place in the Villareal side of the tunnel. After the game arsenal players ran over to coquelin laughing and joking like it was a fun night out. Arsenal Football had lost its mojo and replaced it with emojis.

El Mintero

I’ll say what no one else wants to but is thinking…Odegaard and Smith-Rowe can’t play together. You play Odegaard and Smith Rowe is just not the same player. It’s like a Gerard-lampard England thing…2 great players but start them next to each other and both are worse off.

Daveo

I disagree on this, but to make it work you need a fucking striker and a direct winger, not one of them playing as a “false” striker. But, it seems there is no way to keep Odergaard (he was poor last night, but hard on him just back from injury and in “that” setup), so move on and get Martinelli, ESR, Pepe, Saka in as the front 4 with Gaby at striker, at least in the league as we have nothing left to play for there. And Azeez should get some starts in midfield next to Partey to see what… Read more »

WALTERDIX

ARTETAOUT simple as that. Martinelli on the bench. Emery would’ve been excited to see that line up. He didn’t rate Pepe and he rated Martinelli so he knows what Martinelli would’ve brought he would’ve been wary of him starting. Then this Arteta went and played a false 9 with a player that’s not intelligent enough to play his own position at LW (Saka basically dislodged him from that position and made it his own) let alone a false 9. Teams who play false 9 use highly intelligent players in that position like Messi, and Debruyne against PSG and Firmino at… Read more »

Chopra Gooner

Arteta will eventually come good, he needs to be backed by the board. As fans we need to be patient, it takes time and some good transfer windows to build a top team.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

I used to support Arteta 100% but there are too many questions for me about his approach that I think he is over coaching like his mentor Pep. He got the selection and tactics wrong IMO in such a big game. Playing the first time in such a big game without a striker leading the line was just madness, especially with Martinelli and Auba on the bench. Managers need to get the best out of each player. What does starting on the bench do for Martinelli and Auba? Everyone knew Villarreal has pacy wingers yet he started Xhaka again at… Read more »

Qwaliteee

I found myself reading this and hearing the voice of a robot.

Carlos

I posted this in the ratings report, but perhaps it’s more relevant here as it’s a fresh article. I cancelled my membership today in protest of the Kroenke Management after 10 years + support. It was quite freeing in the end.I’d advise anyone in this thread who has similar disdain to the way the club is being managed to direct your constructive feedback to: [email protected] If we get enough numbers, perhaps the Kroenke’s will wake up and realise we will NOT rollover. PS. Sorry for the takeover, I just strongly believe this needs to be seen as much as possible!… Read more »

Leevenio

You have supported for 10+ years!
Who did you support before Arsenal then Carlos?

Thanks for posting this Carlos, I wasn’t aware there was an email account to send feedback to the club. I will be drafting my entry pretty soon. The club is just taking the supporters for a ride. (1) Charging local match-going fans the highest ticket prices in the country. (2) Serving up crappy performances to overseas fans who are usually staying up very late or waking up very early to watch our games. (3) Not consulting any supporter groups when making a decision to join the Super League. (4) Extremely poor Public Relations in the past two years that only… Read more »

Carlos

I had no idea there was a feedback system neither!
They mentioned to direct any feedback in so they want to hear from us.

Goontang

What shocking game management. Why we persist with our best midfielder Xhaka to play left back is beyond me. Ceballos has not played well for weeks and I don’t understand what he thought would be different.

Don’t even want to speak about the false 9 fiasco.

Baichung Bhutia

His in game management was bad, but when I think about it it looked like we didn’t prepare well at all. We had almost a week to prepare, was this the formation and setup we prepared for? Did the players knew their roles in this?

Daveo

He literally subbed on willian and Elneny with the clock at 94:15…WTF!?

Tired

Gabriel would have made more sense attacking a corner

Corona XY

Or Ryan! 🙂

Boywonder

Beat midfielder ? Yea coz partey plays golf I guess

Daveo

False 9, false owners, false coach, false team full of false mercenaries. Turn it over to the youth already. Odegaard isn’t coming back so get balogun and martinelli in, get Gabriel in, get azeez in, get Emi Martínez in… Oh wait. Instead we time waster 2-1 down to put on Willian and elneny for the last 30 seconds… I spent 5 mins after the game trying to conceptualise any reason why we would do that. I don’t have one. We’re lost at sea.

Johnny 2 Bad

Exactly Arteta talks about evolution but he just seems to lurch from one decision to another. Xhaka played quite well at the back against quite weak teams and now we get Cellabos in the middle of the park…2 subs with 30 seconds left? Still…we are still in it. Hopefully we can turn it around but it’s almost time for adios.

yen

I share the sentiment, but I kinda understand the late subs – I mean, with 30 seconds to go and our ability to self-destruct, it’s not out of this world to imagine how we lose the corner, launch Villareal into a counter and they score with a spare second which would really kill off the tie.

What I don’t understand is the personnel aspect: why not Gabriel and Luiz for a late header? Why sub Pepe off who can put in a header as well?

Can someone explain to me what is so charismatic about Arteta that he’s got half our fan base and half the news outlets enamoured with him?

We aren’t playing entertaining football. He benches fan-favourites whenever he feels like it. His tactics are never proactive. He never takes the blame for his teams’ inconsistent performances. And to top it off, he comes off as stubborn and arrogant.

What is so endearing about this man. Please tell me.

In this post-match interview, he can only mention the one decent chance we created in 95 minutes of football.

Johnno

Thats an easy one to explain. Some of us older fans can see past the end of our nose and realise that were in the middle of a rebuild and Arteta is trying to clear out the deadwood. Despite all that hes already delivered an FA Cup and is 1 game away from taking us to a European Final. The modern day fan/moaner wants everything yesterday but supporters who followed The Arsenal in the 60s or mid 70s or early 80s are probably a little more patient. I guess what I`m trying to say is that a lot of modern… Read more »

madara

arteta may not be putting in amazing shifts, but he sure has slowed the extreme rot we have been under for 5 years.

And he won an FA cup with some huge games in that run.

Haha😂😂. Not one bit of that tripe you typed answered my question. I started watching Arsenal games in 2007 and became a supporter in 2008. Since then I have witnessed some very memorable FA Cup wins but also: 3 League Cup final defeats. No league titles. No European titles. 8-2 to Utd, 6-0 to Chelsea, 5-1 to Liverpool and Bayern *3. 4-0 to Southampton. No league goals scored against City in the last three years. Winning an FA Cup is great but what Arteta achieved is nothing special and proves nothing. Do Matteo won an FA Cup and a Champions… Read more »

Jay

He has mastered the technique of creating an aura around him. He’s an expert PR man, that’s about it.

Nothing special about his tactics or his philosophy. We play like cowards in most of our matches which is reflective of Arteta

Winwincibles

He seems to have firmly hypnotised the fan base

Henry

The management that failed to fire a useless manager is the worst thing we got right now.

Lanre

The last season FA cup win helped disguise his ineptitude as a coach. A trophy in his first half a season made him feel like the man and bought him some credit but real scrutiny will reveal he just lucked out. Our eyes and brains aren’t decieving us. Arteta is a terrible coach and man manager. The earlier he is gone and someone better brought in, the better. Someone who can get more out of this team, especially our youngsters.

Lack of Perspective

Theres something fucked up at arsenal for 10+ years. Wenger as great as he was struggled by picking up the slack and was booed out of his tenure. Emery wasnt a fit but the people around him took the club into an even worse postion. They then picked a rookie manager with the hope of getting lucky and looking like geniused but Arteta for all his faults can’t be expected to fix everything that has been wrong and that we are clearly still feeling the effects of. The squad has been poorly managed for ages with contracts being mishandled and… Read more »

gee

Its the training ground stories from Citeh, he was a legend with the cones.

Tommmy

Win or Bust for Arteta next week.
Even if he guides us to win the EL I may substitute him in the 94th minute for another Manager, or Willian.

Jay

Out, now.

Still in disbelief that we have a manager so arrogant that in a match where we are allowed 5 subs, he chooses to do NOTHING at half time in our most important match of the season

What is the point of Arteta. Really? What are we doing under this guy?

Winwincibles

Yeah did nothing to shake things up. Ceballos should have been subbed off at the very least.

Daveo

Praising Leno for a few saves when all he had to do was come claim a ball in the 6yard box and we don’t go 2-0 down. We’re so mediocre from the top down.

Naked Cygan

Good Ebening 2-1 Arteta.

rhal

I feel that its really odd people complaining about not fielding a CF when it was clear that neither Nketiah or Auba would do anything good today, since they had two very compact lines and were only going to be broke by passing and movement. Honestly, today, I don’t feel this is on the game plan, but on the execution. Does this excuse Arteta? Of course not. Look at his press conference – we had a terrible match, players clearly nervous at 2-0 and he insists on throwing Auba under the bus when the question wasn’t even about Auba. He… Read more »

Winwincibles

Lol will you let him run down his contract considering where we’re headed? All is not lost yet, but still even if we do find ourselves back in the CL, these performances are absolutely unacceptable. I shudder at the thought of us playing in the CL with the current form and recent track record over Arsenal’s worst season in several decades by a country mile.

rhal

I wouldn’t, but the higher ups clearly would.

Bobby

Is it time we brought back Wenger? Couldn’t he do something better with this squad? Especially if we keep odegaard. They have already recruited Party and Wenger loves a fullback so all his problems have been solved?

GmV8

I am in no way a football expert, but before the game event started, I was asking why are we playing with no strikers, when we have Martinelli on the bench, and Balogun is being frozen out, for whatever reason? I also said after Ceballos got his yellow, to take him off, as the what he was contributing wasn’t worth the risk of him getting a second (although the second was incredibly harsh and unfair). If I could see all these thing, why couldn’t MA? And more annoyingly why, when it looked like we had the momentum behind us to… Read more »

Mark

We won’t have a chance to win if Arteta sticks with a similar lineup.