Disappointed Arteta warns players they “cannot play any games” in Prague

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Arsenal’s failure to convert a host of big opportunities coupled with all too familiar brittleness in defence made for another frustrating evening for Mikel Arteta as the Gunners were pegged back at the death by Slavia Prague in the first leg of our Europa League quarter-final.

While the performance was far from our best, the chances spurned by Bukayo Saka, Alex Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ensured a game that should have been out of sight prior to Nicolas Pepe’s late goal went right down to the wire.

In his post-match interview with Arsenal.com, the boss couldn’t hide his disappointment at familiar issues coming to the fore again.

“We should have scored more goals, for sure, and once we had the result, we conceded a corner after not managing well the situation and conceding from there, which is a big blow,” he said.

“In Europe, you’re not going to have 10 chances against a top opponent. When you have those big chances, you have to put them in the net.

“You want to give yourself the best chance to go through in the competition.

“Today we haven’t done that and on top of that, we conceded a late goal from a set-piece, which is disappointing, and it points the tie in a completely different position from what happened today on the pitch.”

Arteta knows his side must score in Prague to have a chance of progressing to the semi-finals. Given we’ve not kept a clean sheet in 14 games, it seems likely we’ll have to do that more than once.

“I think psychologically to go there at 1-0 is completely different to the 1-1,” he said in his press conference.

“Now we know that we have to go there and win the game and we have to score goals. We cannot play any games, we have to go there with the determination to be an attacking team and hurt them.”

If you’re looking for good omens, we’re unbeaten in 11 games away from home in the Europa League and have never conceded a European goal in Prague.

Stats courtesy of @Orbinho.

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C.B.

I think they should be allowed to play one game in Prague.

Johnny 4 Hats

They could try playing the game of football.

At the moment Auba’s been playing Guess Who. Arteta is enjoying No Cluedo. And Leno is having a few Buckaroo moments.

El Mintero

Aubameyang is absolutely having his worst season at Arsenal and it’s 50-50 on whether he should get a start in any game. Do you agree with that Johnny hats?

La Défènse

This team makes me want to chew off my bollocks.

Andy

Mine went a few weeks ago. Tbh, it’s helped.

goongot

meh. I cant wait for stadium to be filled with fans. This players need to be encouraged to attack and pick up the pace and they seem to miss the 12th man. Also they need to feel the pressure of boos when they play like they doing now.

I hate mentality of some players. backroom banters of laca and auba are all good if we are in a good position. This guys are earning good money and dont care if we are out of europa or finish outside europe.

SB Still

I worry when we go away and the stadium is filled with opposition fans.

The confidence of this team is so brittle!

AussieGooner

That is our biggest problem and fair play, give him his dues, he is brazen enough to admit it. He doesn’t let our players play games. He is so controlling and demanding he only lets them play his game. Hence why Abubameyang has to play as a left wing back and when he complains he is dropped. Hence why he refuses to play Pepe up front despite the fact we bought a prolific goal scorer and he is determined to play out wide and isolated and then drops him for not touching the ball. That’s why he saw YouTube clips… Read more »

C.B.

Lots of good points. But not Emery…

AussieGooner

You say that but I have no doubt that should we manage to rescue our Europa League journey next week then we are going to be schooled by Emery in the semi.

I am 100% sure that had he been given another year we would be in a better position today. Under Emery we missed out on top four by one point and we were in the Europa League final.

We are nowhere near that today. Just 18 months later we have gone backwards faster than a Cedric pass.

NorthernGooner

I have absolutely no doubt about Emery being a better coach, and manager, than Arteta. However, I also think Emery’s time was up at Arsenal.

It’s not his fault the club appointed a rookie who is so out of his depth he doesn’t even learn from his own mistakes.

Kiran

Why is the mention of Emery getting so many downvotes. I could not wait for him to be sacked but let’s face it Arteta is facing similar issues so cannot understand the huge downvotes in this. I am not fan of Emery but he wanted Zaha, that player from Sevilla Banega even when reports of Nzonzi being linked majority of our fans stuck their nose up at that. Arteta has been backed more than Emery he got Partey, whereas Emery was reportedly keen on Partey but he got Saliba and Pepe? So let’s not demonise Emery because it is clear… Read more »

C.B.

The statement was ‘I want Emery back’. If you had a vote of Arsenal fans I suspect very few would vote for him to return (given there are plenty of other managers out there).

Kiran

Good point I myself would not have gone that far but I do feel Arteta’s tenure is in fact even more mediocre than Emery’s hence why I felt the need to make that argument.

Optimistic Arsenal fan

Well, Arteta has had a net spend of about 53m, with Partey and Mari for 45m and 8m and Gabriel and Emi cancelling out, Sam Greenwood and Runarsson cancelling out, Willian and Mhiki cancelling out, and Auba + Cedric’s wages being cancelled out by Ozil/Kolasinc/Mustafi. Emery on the other hand singed 72m Pepe, 20m Leno, 25m Tierney, 20m Saliba, 25m Torreria, 6m Martinelli, 6m Luiz, 6m Guendouzi, Lichtsteiner, and both loaned Ceballos + one other (Suarez/Odegaard). Julio Pleguezelo, Charlie Gilmour, Gedion Zelalem, Josh Dasilva, and Santi Cazorla were released by Emery on a free, not saving much money. So, all… Read more »

AussieGooner

Emery didn’t buy any player to be fair. He had no say in transfers. That much was made obvious with the leaks that he asked for Zaha and got Pepe forced on him.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Pepe, but he was not an Emery signing. Nor was Saliba, not was Tierney. None of them to be truthful.

Emery was first team coach, it was Arteta who was made manager.

And btw, I didn’t really mean I want Emery, it was purely for dramatic effect. I just am so sick of Arteta.

atom

We’re also comparing pre and mid pandemic managers here as well. The club’s finances are in much worse shape to the point that KSE had to put in the 50m for the Partey transfer (likely structured as a loan as Abra at Chelsea does).

Arteta has spent quite a bit of money – just a lot of it was done via contracts which most fans don’t consider the cost of. Auba for instance is likely on more money than Ozil now – that’s a choice Arteta/Edu made. Willian etc.

El Mintero

Dude are you some kse social media “plant” because your constant comments on how good kronke is for the club are quite frankly nauseating. He’s a cancer on our club and the mess we’re in is entirely down to that prick.

Atom

Kroenke simply leaves the club to be self sustaining for the most part (clearly put in money for Partey) which is what 99.9 percent of owners do. The real complaint is simply he let Wenger hang on way too long – leaving a proper mess when he finally did go.

Deano

I cannot believe that people are on about Emery and that we’d be in a better position now with him, Er no we wouldn’t. Memories must be short we were dreadful and it was so depressing having to be put through game after game of such ineffective boring football I still remember Watford’s 30 shots at goal and there were many other games like that. No thank you, please don’t mention Emery again. Now to Arteta where to begin. He wants us to be a carbon copy of Man City but we ain’t up to the job probably something to… Read more »

Public Elneny

I think Zaha, Banega and Nzonzi would have been expensive, short term signings and I don’t think they would have been much if any better than Pepe, Ceballos and Partey who we signed instead. And tbf to Emery and to a lesser extent Arteta I think they inherited squads in an absolutely dreadful condition, with our most talented players all either ageing out, demoralised or nearing the end of their contract, and holes all over the place. I think it would have been very hard for any manager to prevent that sharp decline with the group of players remaining, Wenger… Read more »

Vonnie

If we are to be an attacking team then I would hope he selects attacking players. Like Martinelli and not Willian. I really want Mikel to succeed but he’s doing himself no favours.

David J M

No. He will revert to type. Ultra cautious. More frightened of losing than trying to win.

Baichung Bhutia

There is so much rotation, have no clue who will start. Why did Willian start on Thursday in our most important match of the season after not playing in the previous 3 games? His last match was on March 14 against Spurs as a sub.

karl

He just doesn’t seem to want Martinelli in the team, even when others are failing. You would have thought he saw what he could offer before the injury.

Brian

An NFL coach was once asked about his team’s execution, and he replied – “I’m for it”. That’s how Mikel must feel. That’s how I feel. I think the players are more to blame for this season, but I get it’s easier to get rid of one manager vs. 10 crap players. I pity the next manager if we crash out of Europa. And, I get the ” team selection” and “best position” arguments, but there’s been too many times the team he’s picked should have won by 1,2,3 goals, but players let him down.

NorthernGooner

By that logic no coach would ever lose their job. I doubt very much anyone deliberately sets out to lose games.

The job of a coach is to consistently get the best our of his players, no ifs no buts. After 19 months in charge, can you say Arteta has done that? Or are we going full Mourinho now and start blaming this that or the other.

Right or wrong, football is a results business and Arteta is not delivering and doesn’t look like he will.

SarcasmB0t

To consistently get the best out of players is an unreasonably high bar.

He should, however, consistently get the acceptable out of them.

NorthernGooner

Nope, sorry…acceptable gets you midtable mediocrity.

If we are pretending to be a big club then we need to coax the best of everyone on a regular basis, note I didnt say winning trophies, I said push for the very best our players can achieve.

SarcasmB0t

Disagree. Acceptable performances from quality players get you top-6, possibly top-4.

Our issue has been that a lot of our best paid players have often performed far below what is acceptable at this level (Ozil, Willian, Aubameyang, Lacazette, Luiz, Xhaka, Bellerin, even Pepe and Thomas).

If you can get a 6 out 10 performance out of all of them consistently, and their best from time to time, you’re not midtable.

Our problem is they’ve far too often been at 4 out of 10 or below – and Willian has never been above.

NorthernGooner

I’m really not sure. In a competitive league such as this one, where almost any team can beat another on any given day, a team aiming for top 4 has to be on their toes and there’s no room for complacency.

Maybe it’s just semantics but for me 6/10 is merely above mediocrity and not enough for top 4

Russ

Looking from the ‘half full’ measurement. Maybe actually going out and having to play and score goals will be better than going there already having the advantage next week…

(I said maybe…)

Dan

The lack of effectiveness is linked to mentality. And in the end, the careless attitude was sanctioned. Too bad. It’s going to be tough in Prague. Greetings from Germany!

loose_cannon

Glass half full is that we had more than enough chances to win this game comfortably. Saka should have scored, Laca missed two sitters, Auba and Partey could have done better in a couple of goal scoring situations.

Glass half empty is that we beat ourselves, especially the manager with his selections. He’s overcomplicating it again like earlier in the season and he keeps trying to make Willian “happen”. Best players in their best positions, we probably walk that game.

Russ

I think over complicating is the word… Being micro managed is bad enough at the best of times, let alone when you’re playing football.

Let the players do their jobs!

Public Elneny

Yeah the amount of needless yelling from the sidelines at Laca in particular does my head in. Or at Leno and the defence when they’re playing out from the back. No wonder they all look stilted and unsure of themselves and eachother. It’s almost like he’s using them as a stress ball to calm his own nerves

Coach them in training, give them instructions in the build up to the game but then leave them to play the actual match. Make changes if they’re not doing it right or something’s not working tactically

IamsterdamGooner

This is true! I can’t remember a game where Arteta just came in, sat down and let the game play out for the first 15 or 25 minutes. it’s like 1. either the players are always messing it up so he has to micro manage or 2. they don’t really go out with a plan at all so he has to micro manage all trough out the game. Both ways is bad.
Then again, if the players just put away they’re chances we prob wouldnt be talking about this.

El Mintero

Thanks for the blinding insight pep. Your knowledge of coaching, is, well, fucking hilarious. Let me call Mikel and ask him please don’t shout at Leno when he fucks up again…you’re only going to upset him…ffs lol

Jack

I hope Arteta grabbed Cedric after the game, shook him for about 5 minutes while repeatedly screaming ‘wake up’ in his face

Mcheza

I’ve just been reading articles here to look at fans release the anger and frustration which has helped me go back to my mellow shell of no hope.

Gus Caesar

Genuinely interested to know how many people on here would sack Arteta if we get knocked out next Thursday. Really hard to judge mood with empty stadiums. I’m personally wavering. Thumbs up if you’d want him to stay and thumbs down if you’d want the club to move on…

chepetin

Sacking him is the easy part of the process. The question remains who you replace him with. It has to be someone who can get better results from this crop of players and who wants to come and manage us.

Gus Caesar

Yep and 3 managers have now failed with many of these players. I honestly don’t know who you would replace him with.

Vonnie

Yes, and remeber Freddie in the end just dumped most of them and played the kids. Some of these players are a big problem, starting with the Auba Laca double act.

Corona X

Simple. Marcelo Bielsa. He’d whip these boys into shape!

Gus Caesar

So a few hours on this page and nearly 70% would sack him if we lost next week. I know these are small numbers but that is interesting. I can’t say i’m surprised and I don’t think i’d strongly disagree if it did happen. But, knowing our club, I think it’s highly unlikely to happen until the Autumn at the very earliest.

kasgood

It’s like a vicious circle, Arteta comes in & he has the job of sorting out the mess/dross. When the next manager arrives he will have to sort out Arteta’s dross – Willian etc etc

dariusz

Guy can’t successfully manage an ice-cream shop and he dreams about winning the EL.

Hank Scorpio

I wonder if he’d stand behind some pimply 15 year old shouting about how to put the ice cream in the cone.

Snc

Every week same old shit. We need to improve this, improve that but end result is always the same. Seriously smth is wrong w us. I really dunno where to begin with.

Der32

He makes a decent point saying our mentality now will be to attack and win the game. But i’ve heard enough talk from Arteta to last me the next 5 years. I need to see results and good mentality on the pitch, not in a press conference.

Bob

Arteta has to go all over the place last night Cédric is not a left back, Smith Rowe is not a left winger and Saka is not a right winger round pegs in square holes. Lacazette Auba and Willian should not even be on the bench.

Holl

We are hard work everywhere, shuffling and struggling all the time, even worse to watch. I’m afraid Arteta is not able to get the team playing.

K9ine

Really can’t blame anyone for your selection and lack of decisiveness in substitutions. That’s all you.
We all want you to succeed but you are making it harder every match.
Play auba middle, drop Willian, start Pepe and saka if you want an attacking team.
Hope you don’t get sacked soon, but please don’t make me fall out of love with football like Emery did.

Kiran

If we somehow manage to get knocked out next week and finish 10th, the board are not guna sack Arteta. He was made manager, he is instrumental in every decision being made at the club, we have pretty much reverted to the Wenger type model, we are entrusting this great historical football club to Arteta and Edu, let that sink in. I always felt the self-sustainable model can be done if we have the right infrastructure in place and and a clear blueprint/identity but we clearly don’t. I think we are fucked and the only solution for me is new… Read more »

Feather Boa Morte

It looks like man management is an area Arteta really struggles with. If you look at the stories of individual players since he took over it looks a little like this: Leno – Performance levels and consistency has dropped this season since his serious competition was sold. 14 games in a row without a clean sheet. Verdict – negative impact from Arteta Bellerin – Looks a 6/10 player in the majority of games, I can’t help but feel a different coach would get him out of his comfort zone. Looks to be edging towards an exit. Verdict – negative Tierney… Read more »

Diaby's Left Peg

Generally agree. Pepe strikes me as a guy who needs love from his manager. Thought we’d see the best of him after the FA Cup but we signed Willian to ‘replace’ him instead 🙄

Giuseppe Hovno

we’re a better team that Slavia so we should be able to finish the job no problem in CR. “should”

Biggles

Should a group of very highly paid players be “playing games” in the first place? Hmmm.

Jack4343

I have to admit that I’m not filled with confidence. Slavia is most likely the weakest team we have left to face and we couldn’t beat them at our home with them missing several key players and playing a concussed keeper who’s skull is bring held together with black duct tape. They have us right where they want us. They only have to close up shop, play a low block and defend. You know how poorly we play against those. If we somehow manage to squeak by, we have much better teams lining up to stomp our self destructing faces… Read more »

Biggles

We can’t afford to be at home to “Mr Cockup” in the second leg.

DaDude

“playing a concussed keeper who’s skull is bring held together with black duct tape”

brilliant stuff

SarcasmB0t

If they can’t play any games in Prague, maybe we should have focused on playing the game in London.

heihaci

Poundland Pep is lucky we have a spineless board who didnt sack him over winter!

Mark

Please, please do not play Lacazatte or William in the next leg. Assuming we have the same players available put Saka at LB, Auba at striker and Martinelli and Pepe at the wings. No other way to play it.

Rocastle7

Stolen from a Spurs Friend

“Arsenal and Tottenham fans get more enjoyment out of watching each other, than waching their own teams”

So true, i love watching Tottenham go all Spursy, but am at my wits end of Arsenal, Arsenaling things up time and time again

Chalo Ng'ambi

The goalkeeper is poor and can’t keep a clean sheet. The players don’t respect the coach/manager hence they do their own things on the pitch. The coach is just like a player and can’t command or demand delivery from players.

Dave Roberts

Back at the time, I’d have preferred to keep Emi, although it was a close call.

Gabigol

Pepe should start the next game. He has proven his worth

Tanned arse

Did he refer to Prague as a ‘top opponent’😳

Cultured Determination

He should go if we can’t win the next leg. So should edu for allowing Willian to come in and not knowing how to build a squad.
arteta has a lot of flaws too – stubborn, favourtism, playing with no creative players.

Dave Roberts

Gotta agree with you, CD. Most intelligent Arsenal fans had to be thinking roughly the same last night. As this season has progressed, it’s become clearer that Arteta has to go. His involvement in transfers, team selection, substitutions, playing guys with minor injuries and more have made this obvious. He’s too slow to learn.

Albert48

Arterta is a very poor man manager. Just watch his attitude and body language on the side line. Would that make you perform better? He makes me feel stressed watching him let alone on the pitch playing for him!

WCGooner596

Arteta’s management is criminal! He runs an ostensibly professional football team that does not have more than one functioning LEFT-footed LEFT back!

Stevec

I don’t understand how a squad of decent players can repeatedly play in such a clueless fashion. The current squad have the talent but not the mindset to represent Arsenal. Time for a major shake-up!