Mikel Arteta paid homage to Arsenal’s travelling fans for energising his side as they claimed a backs-to-the-wall 0-0 draw against Liverpool despite Granit Xhaka’s first half red card.
While the Carabao Cup semi-final remains in the balance, the Spaniard is hoping next Thursday’s match will be played in front of a partisan crowd who can help carry the Gunners to February’s final.
“We’ve played to half time, probably even less than that,” reflected the boss in his post-game press conference.
“We need another game. It’s an extraordinary opponent, we got a result that in the circumstances we have to consider positive. We’re going to need everybody back and we’re going to need to create a great atmosphere at the Emirates.
“The fans that travelled today made an incredible noise and gave us incredible energy and put a real game there to try and get into a final.”
Having been frustrated with the way his players performed at Nottingham Forest on Sunday, there were only warm words for their efforts on this occasion.
“I’m extremely proud of what the boys did today in an extremely difficult stadium against a great opponent, and playing 70 minutes with 10 men,” he said.
“It was about fight, spirit, commitment and as well the quality that they showed to play a game that is not in our strength and not in what we trained, but it was necessary to win. I want to see a team that plays with emotion and transmits everything that we talked about every day and I’ve seen that today, so I’m very happy.”
Before playing Liverpool again, Arsenal have the small matter of a north London derby against Sp*rs.
Having left players at home due to injury and Covid, and with four first team members at the African Cup of Nations, the last thing Arteta needed was the loss of more personnel
In addition to Xhaka’s suspension, it looks like Cedric will be unavailable – the Portuguese full-back was substituted early on with a hip problem – while Bukayo Saka and Calum Chambers both struggled in the closing stages.
Asked whether there was a risk of the game being called off, Arteta said: “I don’t know. It’s a possibility in any game from our side, from the opponents’ side, because of the amount of issues that everybody is having and because it’s happening every week, but we try to prepare for the games thinking that we’re going to play. If something happens along the way, it is what it is.”
On Saka’s fitness, he added: “He felt something in the last minute, he was really fatigued and I don’t know. He’s a young boy and he recovers pretty quickly, he’s played a lot of minutes in the last months, so let’s see who’s available.”
If Saka is injured I’d hope we try to “Covid cancel” the game somehow. If everyone else is playing the system we should too. Without ESR/MO/Saka/Pepe we’d be very short upfront. Plus everyone must be knackered after that.
Even if we do play I’m positive of a good result!
I know we’re all looking forward to Sunday but I would be all for trying to get it postponed. To be missing Tomiyasu, Partey, Xhaka, Odegaard, ESR, Saka, it could be one or two absence too many.
At the moment it’s looking something like Ramsdale; Chambers White Gabriel Tierney; Lokonga Patino; Martinelli Lacazette Tavares; Nketiah.
I guess Arthur may be available if he signs before noon Friday afternoon.
Chambers or White could go into midfield with Holding into the back line instead of Patino too. Or even a back 3 with wing backs?
Seems like moving too many pieces around doesn’t it.
I would absolutely keep White and Gabriel together at the back to nullify Kane.
But yep 5-3-2 is possible with Lokonga supported by Saka and Martinelli either side. (Laca/Eddie up front).
Hate to say it, but with so many absences, a draw may turn out to be a good result in the end.
At least we’re without xhaka.
@Daveo. We could also do without you.
Some could say the same about you too mate. No need to make things personal.
I like daveo his hearts in the right place, but he does have an unhealthy dislike for xhaka Eddie and Cedric.
…and it’s not justified?
I actually think it’s quite a healthy dislike.
Daveo is an acquired taste but he’s not wrong on those three.
I’ll take it!
In the last 10 days, Xhaka played against City & Liverpool, 2 big games, and managed 2 game-changing, critical errors. It’s the norm in his game, not the exception.
Don’t forget the Man City red card from earlier on in the season.
I am very proud of the performance the team put. But we didn’t need to suffer this way if we had a strong manager with some balls who would fix the Xhaka situation. Either get rid of Xhaka or telling to get his fking act together. I am tired of watching this bastard cost us point and games over the years and get away with it. I fking tired of ppl making excuses for Xhaka and can’t wait till he is gone. Roma please take him for free. And where the fk was this performance against Nottingham Forest? Why such… Read more »
At this point I would rather sign Jack Wilshire on a short term six moth contract and get rid of Xhaka. Thank God I don’t have to see him for the next two games. Without Xhaka the chances of us getting another red card or giving away another stupid penalty is reduced.
Pascal, you were never this angry back in your playing days!
But then again, Cyborgs are normally emotionless.
I agree, when it happened I thought “not again you stupid f*cking c*nt”. I thought 1 nil down with 11 is better than the savaging we’re about to get. And then… we saw a gutsy performance. I reckon with 11 we had a great chance. So, agree about Xhaka, but don’t use it as an excuse to attack Arteta who dealt with it fucking well. And who else is he meant to play there right now, anyway?
Anyone else but Xhaka. If he plays again and gets a red card I blame Arteta for playing the same c*nt. Why does he deserve to play when he fks up all the time? Manager needs to put him in his place. I feel like Xhaka does what ever the fk he wants and gets away every fking time. Enough is enough.
Give it a fucking rest.
Bore-off mate, do you ever talk about anything else?
Arteta did try sign the Italian player, whose name escapes me, who went to Juve unfortunately!!! I agree we shouldn’t be relying on xhaka so much and hopefully this and the next transfer window will see progress in that regard – xhaka is a squad player not first 11 standard
Locatelli, isn’t it?
You need some perspective mate. Your wandering outside the concentric rings of reality. Xhaka should be gone from our club, he is not. We had our biggest window of players coming into the club, some position wasn’t getting filled, Xhaka’s. We can’t unload a midfielder when we don’t have any midfielders. If he’s not gone in the next window, then you would have something to complain about with Arteta.
I think many would have said “why not just bring him down and take it” if Xhaka didn’t foul and we went 1 down so early on the game.
I tend to go with the “give the keeper a chance to save” school, especially with Rambo there.
You can apply for Arteta’s job.
Crowd was insane, at times I thought it was Emirates… great result given the typical Xhaka implosion
It really was amazing, wasn’t it? Eyes closed, I wouldn’t have known that wasn’t Highbury.
Is there a call to get wilshere on a short termer to cover? I wouldn’t be against it
Judging tackles is instinctive, not something you can ‘fix’, especially in your late 20s. Xhaka will always have that in him so it will probably keep happening.
But the same people slaging him off saying the team needs more fight, courage and taking responsibility, should realise that’s not a criticism you can make of him. The team showed it tonight, but on days when they’ve lacked it it’s been Xhaka who’s been the only real leader.
Story of xhaka right there. Not good enough, but a good bloke and loves getting stuck in. You play with fire. You get burned.
Which games has Xhaka been our only real leader? Genuinely curious. Maybe I have missed something as an Arsenal fan since he arrived 5 years ago.
If Boris is a leader then surely Granit is.
Every single game when Auba goes quiet, Pepe is meek, Saka gets bullied, Laca has his sulk, Willian can’t keep up, Mustafi seeing double, Leno starts flapping, Kola out of position, Hector keeps giving it away etc … and that’s a lot of games.
Have you never noticed these? Genuinely curious.
Strange, then, that arguably the most gritty display in the last decade began the moment he left the pitch?
“Real” leaders don’t repeatedly hang their team mates out to dry. ‘Real’ leaders don’t toss their club’s tradition to the turf.
Exactly. This is why Xhaka is not a REAL leader. Look at the games he comes undone in, the majority are big games, lots of pressure and he comes undone with a thoughtless action every time. We know there is a Xhaka tax, why doesn’t he?
There’s an old saying in Switzerland: “When your Toblerone has melted, your Alpen horn is broken, your bank account is frozen and your cheese is mouldy… YOU’VE BEEN XHAKA’D” We know that feeling!
It’s actually an ancient Swiss prophecy. It’s come true over the last 5 years.
not swiss, i supose… 🧐
If xhaka gets another chance at this club, I will lose faith in everything that is right with this world.
Disgrace of a footballer.
I’m not Xhaka’s biggest fan. It was a stonewall red card but you have to look to others as culpable too. Gabriel pushed up to close down in midfield and left a chasm in defence. Whole of that side of defence was clear. Xhaka at least tracked his man the length of the field. With where Ramsdale is when the foul happens it’s 90% a goal if he passed him. It’s a high reward but high risk high reward tackle though and he should stay on his feet. If he fouls him trying to play ball at feet its still… Read more »
Exactly, he is what he is but jota was Tierney’s man to track, gabriel should have been 2nd man up. The only bit of poor defending tonight was that xhaka was the only man that spotted the run from jota.
He should be mature enough to know that he is the last man and that he does not have the speed to keep up with Jota, and thereby should not be making any contact with Jota let alone taking a blind swing with his left foot the way he did. Our young players are 100 times more mature than him.
Disagree completely. The way this team has been set up for some time now, Xhaka drops into the farthest back left position when Tierney has pushed forward – as often as this happens, I can only assume it’s by instruction. When possession is lost, he should be immediately checking to see what’s behind him, which he didn’t do in this case. Had he done so, and if he was as committed as Rocky is implying, he’d have recognized a dangerous attacking player with much more pace than he has, and he’d have started working hard to get goalside of that… Read more »
GX’s job is to cover if the CB’s push up.
I think Jota was clever and saw a moment to expose GX knowing he’s slower than Jota in a footrace.
Imagine if he didn’t launch his boot into Jota’s chest, he would have probably rugby tackled him by the ankles giving away a penalty! hahaha such a bloody wally
Boneheaded tackle then … he lacks a football brain when it comes to crucial decisions … we need an upgrade now or next season.
I feared the worst but think its one of our best results of the season.
Callum C was huge
You know what you do in that situation? You don’t make the tackle. You accept you might go 1-0 down but are still in the tie, and you’re not completely fucking exhausted or suspended for the most important game of the season on Sunday.
What shape are saka or Martinelli or lacazette in for Sunday now.? This doesn’t just hurt us because we have no midfield for that game cos the attack is spent as well.
Agree. It was 95% a great bit of defending from Xhaka but the 5% was the bit that actually mattered unfortunately.
If he fouls him trying to play ball at feet its still denying a goalscoring opp but not a red card.
DOGSO is literally the definition of a red card offense. Xhaka got his card for that, not the nature of the foul per se.
That picture of Arteta is cold af. 😎
The only thing more mind boggling than Granit Xhaka, is the Granit Xhaka apologists on this site.
Guys, you can support your team and highlight when a player is a complete liability.
When he is like this, he doesn’t play for Arsenal. He plays for the opposition, and they all know it.
This isn’t some ‘gotta stay together for the kids’ situation. He hurts us.
Judging by Arteta’s subdued response, I think the writing is on the wall now.
Why are we not giving Wilshere a pay as you play contract to the end of the season? It seems like madness to have a PL experienced midfielder with Arsenal history, who is by all accounts excellent in training that we are refusing to use.
He cannot play at the level required anymore. It’s just a romantic notion to ‘get him back in the shirt’ not really a practical solution
With all due respect, I’d say Arteta is in a better position to judge the guy’s readiness for prem league football.
I loved the Man City and pool games, the way way the players reacted and fought for each other and the way the supporters backed them, only watched on the tv but it really came across, been missing from the way the team plays for seems like years.
for me it is not all about trophys or qualifying for things, it is about the right emotion and passion shown by the players and supporters.
get this right and the rest will come.
it is building…onward the gunners.