Arteta: We’re still alive

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Mikel Arteta says Arsenal were knocked out of kilter by Villarreal’s early goal but his side’s second half performance, despite going down to 10 men, ensures we’re still alive heading into next week’s semi-final second leg.

The Gunners had a mountain to climb when we fell two goals behind before the half-hour mark but Nicolas Pepe’s penalty, not long after Dani Ceballos had been sent off, halved the deficit and ensures we take a precious away goal back to the Emirates.

Had substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang been a little more composed in stoppage time, Arteta’s side might even have snatched an unlikely draw.

After the way the game played out, the boss admitted he was inclined to accept the 2-1 scoreline.

“Obviously we are disappointed we lost the game because it is not the result that we wanted to take from it,” he told his post-game press conference.

“But after the story of the game we have to take it because we are in the tie, we are alive and, with the circumstances that developed during the game, it put the game and the tie in real danger at some stage.”

Arteta raised eyebrows when he fielded a team without a recognised striker but he said it was his players’ sluggish start rather than his tactics that had them on the back foot.

“It’s the way we prepared for the game,” said the boss. “It’s the decision that I made, thinking that it was the best way to play, but the game was conditioned after four minutes so it was difficult to assess whether it would work or not. Conceding from the set piece as well also changed it and after, we had to approach it in a different way.

He added: “I think the first goal was a big shock. It was almost the first action that they went over the halfway line and they scored a goal, and after that, we were touched, we didn’t expect it, we were touched, we didn’t quite react, and then we conceded the set-piece goal that’s obviously crucial in these ties, and then the team needed a break.

“After that break, we reset, we reorganised, we talked about a few things and then we were a different team in the second half.”

The Villarreal players were noticeably disappointed that they didn’t take their chance to kill off the game. They had several chances following Dani Ceballos’ red card but then lost momentum when Etienne Capoue was also sent off. By the full-time whistle, the Gunners left the field feeling much more confident about the task ahead.

Asked about the mood in the dressing room, Arteta said: “Well, comparing how it was at half time, it’s very different!

“But I said to them we have an opportunity, it’s a big challenge that we have ahead of us, but we have the opportunity to make it, but it has to be now. In the return leg it’s going to be too late, we have to change it right now. If we’re able to do that, we’re going to get here in a completely different position.

“We still had another incident which was the red card and playing with 10 men against this team, and the team went to a different level again and we got the goal.”

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Qwaliteee

He really is beginning to annoy the shit out of me.

BelgianGunner

All PR, no results.

IamaGoober

I cannot see a reason why he should keep his job if Emery knocks us out next week. I’d argue he’s had access to a better squad of players than Emery had as well and he’s handled some of the players even worse than Unai. Appreciate he’s had to deal with a lot of things outside of the norm, given the pandemic etc.. but that seems to be something that only matters when talking about inexperienced managers. I remember hearing and reading similarish things when Lampard was overseeing Chelsea sliding down the table. Then Tuchel comes in and takes them… Read more »

Andy

Just beginning?

GUs

Man has been out his depth since the start, a backs to the wall FA Cup victory has saved him thus far but he needs replacing if we ever wish to be challenging for the top4/6 teams any time like next season.

Average Player and an Average Manager

we The Arsenal , we dont need to tolerate this dross

Bergkamp2Wright

Thinks he is the cleverest guy in the room, evidently he is not. What the fuck has he got against Martinelli?! Perfect game for him to start last night, silly twat leaves him on the bench until the 63rd minute.

john

barely!

El Mintero

We’ll beat them at the Emirates. Have faith!

Var Will Solve The Problem

My feelings in each key moments of the game in order:
1. Frustrated and angry (first goal)
2. Shoked and sick (2nd goal)
3. Utter disbelief! (Red card)
4. Resignation (Vilareal chances)
5. Elation (penalty)
6. Holy shit (capoue red card)
7. COYG!
8. Nervous (Villareal attacking our left)
9. So close! (Auba at the end)
10. Shaking my head!

Hank Scorpio

No feelings on this shit lineup then….

Var Will Solve The Problem

I was actually kinda interested in seeing Pepe in the center of front 3. He can play good hold-up, has pace and good at dribbling and also good at finishing. If Laca leaves he could compete with Martinelli for that role until Balogun is ready. So i was intrigued to see the line-up. But my dissapointment was when Pepe was playing on the left again. I was against Xhaka in that left back role. Alongside Mari, Holding and Chambers…it becomes a pedestrian defense. You run directly at them, you can cause trouble. Hopefully KT is fully fit for the return… Read more »

Bergkamp2Wright

Pathetic.

C.B.

Our home record is so good we must have a great chance…

ASH

Tierney has been injured for a few weeks now. After so many hours of practise, and many many matches, the only solution that Arteta has is Xhaka. Fair enough that we dont have any LB, as both the backups were loaned by the manager, as no one could foresee an injury prone player like Tierney being injured again. Lets focus on RB, we have Bellerin and Cedric. As unarguably they cannot be taught to play as LB, maybe they can continue their normal routine. But here again the first choice is Chambers, a player who is not an RB, and… Read more »

Domi

Saka at LB is our best option, since we decided to risk it all by not finding absolutely any backup for KT.

Ambazonian Gunner

When Cedric was signed, they sold us the line that “he is versatile and can play both right back and left back” to justify the odd signing. So what happened that he cant even get a sniff over Xhaka at right back?

N85

ah ah ah ah stayin alive, stayin alive

OurTitA

Oh, I, oh I’m still alive. Hey, I, oh I’m still alive

Cliff Bastin

The Office has ruined (or improved?) this song forever.

Qwaliteee

🎵Alive alive ohh, alive alive ohh, crying Cock-ups and Mustafis alive alive ohh….🎵

Gunner08

Play martenelli next game. Hopefully auba will be over his sickness by then. And start learning from you mistakes. We play like we’re stuck in a time loop never truly breaking out and playing to the best of our ability. Always been an arteta fan as a coach and a player, but at some point you have to really consider getting rid of him. Because besides a F.A cup win what really has he done. A lot of people have talking about firing arteta and I’ve usually responded that it’s still to early. But we’ve been embarrassed again and again.… Read more »

GoonerBoy

Besides an FA Cup what has he done? He’s been there less than 2 seasons after inheriting a club that couldn’t defend or win away from home and managed through a pandemic. Everyone expects insta-results these days like the Prem is FIFA21, people really need to get a grip.

Qwaliteee

No, mate, he’s had a fair crack of the whip now, listened to no one (Wenger tried to give him some good advice) and ploughed on giving it the big licks – which is fine if you know what you’re doing, but Arteta clearly doesn’t.

I said ages and ages ago that this guy’s arrogance would ultimately be his undoing.

Supping up and kissing Kroenke’s arse is fooling no one either.

They’ve both got to go.

Hank Scorpio

Barring a Europa League he needs to be moved on. Funny thing is he really is his worst enemy with obvious shit selections and terrible in-game management (despite the incessant micro-management) and complete inability to a) acknowledge his obvious mistakes and b) do something about them. This was one of our biggest games of the season and he plays a horribly out of form Ceballos alongside Partey and sticks with Xhaka at LB just because Xhaka did a job there in an emergency 5 games ago. Regardless of what you think of Xhaka, he and Partey are our only decent… Read more »

Andy

We were laughing at OGS early season, but could Mikel turn a 1-2 at HT into 6-2 at FT?

Nketibag

They have 4 elite strikers
We had none yon the pitch yesterday

Qwaliteee

He could probably turn a 2-1 into a 2-6.

Man Manny

All because Unai pulled out the sword before it got to any of the vital organs.

backsakacrack

Is this a euphemism?

Atom

In what feels like a classic Arsenal performance (fail to kill off game/ give up penalty & get a man sent off) Emery & co kept us in the tie

karl

If you’re honest, they played much better than we did and must feel like they have missed an opportunity to kill off the tie.

Gunner08

Well You have to remember emery is an ex Arsenal coach. He has learn the trade of getting a red, giving up a stupid penalty and just overall poor coaching. Which are skills vital to being the coach of Arsenal

Johnno

Poor display but the team showed a bit of character there. 2 goals and a man down but they found a way to keep themselves in the tie. I reckon we`ll do them next week and get ourselves into ANOTHER final.

Fatgooner

The good thing for Arteta is that he’ll have Tierney, Auba and possibly Laca fit for next week. And no Ceballos.

Villarreal are very beatable, but only if we turn up.

El Mintero

Yup. On our day we are a much better team. But they have to be up for it.

Naked Cygan

Yes, we will hopefully have a stronger team next week. But the issue is we don’t seem to show up for 80% of our games. When we have shown up, we have beaten Man Utd, Chelsea, and Liverpool. Shame this manager does not have what it takes to get the best out of this team on a regular basis.

Marco

Totally agree.We were poor but still in the tie which tells me Villarreal are average.The problem I envisage is trying to break them down at the Emirates then getting sucker punched at the other end ending with a scenario we have seen plenty of times this season.

Daveo

If they’re average, it doesn’t say much for us. We’re only in the tie because of a questionable penalty and somehow avoiding one (Xhaka’s handball) on the other end. Hopefully people remember that next time it’s discussed how poorly we’re done by refs.

scottythegooner

True but can you see this arsenal team (even with artetas best 11, whatever that is???) beating United?? the thought of a Baku Replay gives me the shits.

onenil

One problem at a time.

Andy

we are lucky. it was a crazy game but i think if we take a step back we can say the following: villareal are a very good side, especially going forward we dominated them for long periods. they just didn’t seem able to handle our pressing when we did it as a team ceballos contributes very little and is always liable to do something insane our centre backs keep making schoolboy errors – is this the coach’s fault or are they just not good enough? i am leaning towards the latter. xhaka is not a left back. this was arteta’s… Read more »

karl

The referee was quite fussy, but to be fair both players were dismissed for similarly minor fouls. Maybe that is just where we have arrived in football.

I still remember Bellerin and Hazard kicking big toes and it resulting in a penalty.

Guns Up

Have to assume you’re talking about Capoue’s first yellow? The second one was an awful challenge. And Ceballos shouldn’t have still been on, but that doesn’t change the fact that he basically got a yellow for running – opposing player slid under his foot, which was already in the air – not sure how he’s meant to avoid coming down on top of him in that scenario.

In any case, agree the ref was way too quick to dole out cards.

Filsuf

2nd one – he slipped (and pulled a muscle?). Definitely not intentional based on the replay

Daveo

You’re right Ceballos should have been sent off for a 2nd yellow before that. Xhaka made a handball (dodged a bullet). Saka took a dive, he threw his leg into the defender (a good dive, but it was a lucky penalty). There is only one team that should be frustrated at the ref after that game. If it was the other way around people on here would have been laying down anti Arsenal conspiracies by UEFA. That was an embarrassing performance and we did not deserve a 2-1 scoreline. Arteta talking about “going to another level” in the 2nd half.… Read more »

assistantref

No thanks to you. Bottled the tactics on this one badly, we’re extremely lucky that Saka took a tumble for an embarrassing penalty that gives us an undeserved shot of going through.

Wolsty

Agreed, the biggest game of our season (to date) and he fucks about with tactics. We are very very lucky to still be in the tie. Cellabos is walking liability and why he didn’t start Gabi up top, fuck knows…. Why do we only start to play either when we’re losing or in the second half?…. Hope Arteta has a long hard think and picks the right team with right tactics next Thursday… COYGs….

Adnan

This exactly. U am already running low on hope because time and again mikel keeps disappointing. People say he is a good leader but a good leader would tame his ego and probably acknowledge his mistakes. We know he is a novice and bound to make mistakes but the first step to fixing a problem is to identify and accept that there is an issue which needs fixing. poor man management, blaming players not his tactics, blaming luck at times, using terms as we didn’t have the desire in the final third to make things happen. dude, if we don’t… Read more »

WALTERDIX

Arteta doesnt trust youth, he only plays Saka and after Saka broke into the team before he arrived and ESR he only played him because Willian and Pepe got injured and suspended. Now Martinelli cant even get in the side???????? when Aubameyang and laca are injured????? when emery was manager he would play Martinelli through the middle and Auba at RW they both scored lots of goals that season. He also played on occasion two strikers up top with Auba and Laca and it worked we beat Valencia easy in the semi. Arteta is rubbish. Absolutely rubbish. get that lego… Read more »

Naked Cygan

Next Friday morning Arteta will be sacked. Freddie will come in again to cover the remaining meaningless games left. You heard it here first!!

Martin R

Does that apply if we reach the final?

Filsuf

It would probably be per mertesacker this time

Jack4343

But first we have to rehire the tea lady to help warm up the lads.

Qwaliteee

With Kroenke in charge we probably haven’t got any milk in the fridge.

In fact, we probably haven’t got a fridge.

Takeshita

I down voted you for the Freddie part, it would be Per most likely.

Dawdler

I have been cautiously optimistic about Arteta since his hiring, but I have to admit, I no longer think he is the manager for this club. I hope I am wrong, because I don’t imagine he is going anywhere anytime soon. I believe that he is overly cautious with young players and way too ambitious with the mediocre senior players at his disposal. I think he is working as hard as he can to implement ideas way beyond the station and capability of what he has. Perhaps his vision hinges on a few key elements or squad qualities that we… Read more »

Newxieland

Yes… but your tenure will be placed on life support if we fail to win this cup.

djouroureallylikeit

So, imagine the miracle it would be to actually win this cup. It would be amazing (I would actually be amazed) but it would be torturous watching us play against (insert top European club), this team would be absolutely murdered.

To even remotely compete we need huge upgrades at right centre back, right back, centre mid, attacking midfield (Odegaard would be nice), centre forward, Willian.

To get them all of champions league quality is going to cost 200+mil.

hmmmm

Nick Prowse

Nothing like getting touched when you haven’t been asked…

Disarmed Gunner

How pathetic we have become. We’re like Gollum out of the Lord of the Rings or something; a barely functioning, grotesque shadow of ourselves. Now our standards are just to say alive. Sign me out of this process.

Badaab

Blaming the players and not the tactics… again.

MojoWillneny

Under Emery, we were worse than most of the teams we lost to. Under Arteta, we are better than most of the teams we lose to, but we lose more matches…

Progress…?

Takeshita

Yes, will KSE show ambition and sack him or make meaningful decision? Unlikely as they know nothing about football.

As it stands Edu & MA have a free hand in whatever they want, and can get away with excuses which Kroenke and children will easily buy.

Daveo

We certainly we’re better than Villareal last night.

Daveo

Weren’t*

MojoWillneny

Agreed

Artetist

Being better is subjective..and it only really matters if it means you’re losses are outlyers, the rest is making smalltalk.

Andy

No. The table doesn’t lie. Better than the teams we (regularly) lose to ? Sounds like Artetaspeak

Mcheza

Whether or not we win the tie Arteta has to go. Bring in Graham potter or some other manager with better game management, stubborn in the right way and one who can get the basics right.

Baichung Bhutia

I don’t think he will be sacked even if we lose. I don’t know if he will turn out to be a great manager, but one thing I know is there will be absolutely no pressure on him from the owners. Arteta’s project might be about progress, but the owner’s project is to make money found absolutely nothing.

A P

We will probably need Harry Potter to qualify for the CL.

Wolsty

More like Harry Houdini…..

truj

We’re a Super League team, aren’t we?

Billy bob

We didn’t expect it? Sorry but in a game of football you expect the opposition to attack and, unfortunately, we have to to expect that it will often result in a goal for the opposition!!!

scottythegooner

just don’t understand the team selection..chambers over Hector or cedric???? Mari over Gabriel???? Xhaka at LB when he’s clearly been
Parteys best midfield partner AND lacks pace AND we know opposition have a nippy right winger???? False 9 when we have 2 quick CF on bench???? not changing things at half time???? if anyone got away with it its arteta who is demonstrating an inability to get team motivated and “on it” from the get go which was also true of Emery and late wenger…..very concerning to say the least.

Dawdler

The whole operation lacks cohesion. Why loan and then by Cedric, if we are not going to play him in a game like this? But instead wesken our midfield and play a CB out of position at RB? Why are we paying money for a player we can even trust over two players playing out of position?

What is the plan here? Is there a plan? Or any logic?

Artetist

Just a little pulse issue…we’re still good we’re still good!!
Just a little haywire…we’re stll good we’re still good!!!
Just a little bad ebbenin…we’re still good!!

GtheGunner

Arteta says its difficult to know if his tactics would’ve worked or not BC we went 1 down so early, but we went 1 down and then 2 down and were really shit BC of his tactics.

Daveo

This is Emery level of double speak. The fact he rolled with the same tactics and same players at the start of the 2nd half shows just how far out of his depth he is. Too arrogant to change something that was so shite, and clearly he was telling himself that it was just unlucky because we conceded two goals (directly related to a slow-footed midfielder playing leftback against a very talented and pacey winger). He tries to be too clever and it so often doesn’t work, but he simply persists out of some weird self-emphatuation with his own tactical… Read more »

Bill Books

That was the first time I cought myself screaming “change something you sleeping cunt” to the tele. Sorry about the language, I had to get ot out of me.

Cicero

We’re still useless.

(fixed)

Koldaf

The game gave mixed feelings… Why do we always like to do it the hard way?

zadok

Arteta: EVILA LLITS ER’EW

John Griffiths

I don’t think Saka, S-R, Ød and Pépé should ever all appear in the same side. They are all fluid players and there is this awful impression of a lot of running around being done by headless chickens. Loads of activity without any end product.

Sauce

I always had the feeling Emery would fuck us up over both legs..
1down, 1 to go

Kentish Gooner

F*ck off, Arteta. You, your players and your tactics are an embarrassment to The Arsenal we know. Our owners have actually spent some money over the last couple of season (albeit on horrendous players). He got the player he wanted in Partey, he got Auba signed up to a new, bumper contract. He made the call to sign a below-par keeper in Runarsson and let our ‘technically’ better keeper leave when we didn’t need to. This season’s failures are 100% on Arteta.

Tony Addo

At halftime it was obvious that Ceballos had to come off to avoid being sent off. Why Arteta kept him is beyond me. Arteta should stop micromanaging on the touchline and allow the players to play.

Chandra Raj

Arteta is sh*t. Enuff said.

Arsefan

Arteta:“I think the first goal was a big shock….. we didn’t expect it”. Well, personally I wasn’t shocked and even more, the way they scored was exactly what I expected.