Absent from Emirates Stadium on the day of the game because he was recovering from a second bout of Covid-19, we’ve been waiting to hear what Mikel Arteta made of the 2-1 defeat to Manchester City last Sunday.
We were due to hear from him earlier in the week but with the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg postponed due to Liverpool’s own Covid issues, the boss has had to bide his time before wading in on the debate about the officiating.
The Gunners fully deserved their 1-0 lead following an incredible first half performance only for everything to fall apart in a mad five minutes after the break when VAR helped award the visitors a controversial penalty and defender Gabriel got himself sent off for two bookable offences in the space of two minutes.
City sealed their comeback victory deep into injury time; a result that was hard for Arteta, watching at home, to swallow.
“I was, as you can imagine, extremely upset at how we lost the game at the end but at the same time I was proud of the performance,” said the boss.
“The way the players played the game, the atmosphere that I managed to feel through the TV, which is nothing like being on the touchline but the support from our fans and the atmosphere that they created was incredible.
“For that I am extremely grateful, but at the same time, I’m extremely disappointed because we ended up losing the match and we have to improve.”
On watching the game at home, he added: “It’s a very strange feeling trying to communicate with players through the computer, it’s something that I’m not used to.
“It’s the best moment of the week when you are there on the touchline and things start to happen and you are part of that atmosphere, part of that energy and when you’re at home, a lot of that gets lost.
“But at the same time, I was quite calm, calmer than I expected to be, probably because I knew from there it was pretty difficult to get anything to them!”
Arsenal’s players, egged on by a partisan crowd, were incensed by some of the decisions made by referee Stuart Atwell and the implementation of VAR which didn’t check Arsenal’s penalty claim. The club has since been fined £20,000 for failing to control its players.
Unsurprisingly, Arteta picked up where his players left off.
“If I have to rate the decisions that were made in that game, I have to be extremely disappointed,” he said.
“It was completely inconsistent and it affected in a big way the result so I prefer not to talk much about it.”