Mikel Arteta says protests outside the Emirates were not a factor in Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat to Everton. Instead, the manager pointed to another controversial VAR decision and his players’ inability to create clear cut chances on a night when they looked to be in the ascendancy only to self-destruct again.
On this occasion, goalkeeper Bernd Leno scored a calamitous own goal when he allowed Richarlison’s cross to squirm through his legs with just 14 minutes left.
On a night when neither side created any big chances, it proved enough to secure a first-ever win at the Emirates for the Toffees.
The Brazilian had earlier given away a penalty for a foul on Dani Ceballos only to have his blushes spared by officials in Stockley Park who ruled Nicolas Pepe had been an inch offside in the build-up.
“No,” replied Arteta when asked if defeat was linked to supporters protesting outside the ground over the club’s owners’ involvement in the short-lived plan for a European Super League.
“We knew that that was happening, we knew that our fans wanted to express their feelings and we made preparations with that in mind and it is not an excuse.
“We lost the game because we had to define the game in the crucial moment, we had the openings or the chances, no clear chances that we wanted, we didn’t do that and then we conceded an own goal.
“Obviously when we earn the right to score with the decision that was taken away.”
Arsenal could have climbed above Everton with a win last night. Instead, after five dropped points at home in a week and a thirteenth Premier League defeat of the season, we’ve been exposed for the mid-table outfit that we are.
“We knew that was going to be a crucial moment of our season,” said Arteta.
“To explain how we have lost five point, with the way we have performed in those two games and what the opponent has earned, is pretty incredible to describe. I gave you a few arguments but we need to find me.”
Having been sanguine about VAR decisions in the past, Arteta’s frustrations this time got the better of him.
“Well, this is because it is building up and enough is enough, and today, to be fair, I had enough.
“We have had many of them [decisions against us], and no one explains. When they explain, they say, ‘sorry, it was a mistake’ but unfortunately it is affecting a lot of people, and it is affecting our job and most importantly our football club.
He added: “I really like that we can make use of the technology, it’s just we need consistency, clarity and we want to see their faces and responses. We are always here in front of the media trying to explain the reasons why we do something, why we do the other thing and I think that has to be clear and explained.”