Albert Stuivenberg says he didn’t have direct contact with Mikel Arteta during Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester City but the manager, who was self-isolating at home after testing positive for Covid-19, did speak to his players at half time.
Despite producing one of our best performances of the season, the Gunners were left empty-handed at the Emirates as a pulsating game turned on its head during a crazy five-minute spell that included a penalty being conceded, a gilt-edge chance being missed and a red card for defender Gabriel.
The visitors snatched the win three minutes into stoppage time as Rodri pounced on a loose ball to toe-poke home from close range.
A very animated figure on the touchline in normal circumstances, we can only speculate as to how Arteta reacted to the action while watching home alone. It wasn’t something he was looking forward to.
“During the game, there was no direct line with Mikel, but we are always in contact with each other,” revealed Stuivenberg in his post-game press conference.
“I do believe I’m famous for the earpods, so normally I’m in that situation that we’re always in contact with somebody from upstairs, or, in this case, from further away.
“This was the same for the Norwich game, people not involved in the stadium and we have contact there, not a direct line, but an indirect line with Mikel and in between of course, at half time, before the game and after the game Mikel has been in touch because he needs to be involved.
“In that case and we don’t do anything different, only Mikel physically is not here, that’s the only difference.”
Arsenal play Liverpool in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final in six days time and it remains to be seen whether Arteta will be back in the dugout.
“I’ve got no clue,” said Stuivenberg. “We don’t know how this virus develops, so he first has to test negative of course to be able to come back in.”
Stuivenberg also confirmed that Arteta shared his pride in the performance even if the nature of the defeat was hard to take.
“Yes, I was in touch with him at the end,” said the Dutchman. “He’s very proud of the performance of the players, he really enjoyed the game, but of course also he’s very frustrated that we don’t end up with three points because at the end it’s all about that.”