Mikel Arteta says he sees no reason to apologise for his touchline behaviour despite broadcaster Richard Keys waging a one-person war on the Spaniard from his hairy-handed lair in Doha.
For no apparent reason whatsoever, the disgraced former Sky Sports presenter has become utterly fixated with the way the Spaniard acts during matches, claiming he “is dragging the reputation of a magnificent club through the dirt”.
Keys’ comments, which followed Arsenal’s frustrating 0-0 draw with Newcastle – a match that saw the Gunners denied two penalties, much to Arteta’s annoyance – have inspired a series of articles in the sports pages where others have chimed in with similarly one-dimensional and predictably boring criticism.
When former Gunner Martin Keown defended Arteta’s reputation on talkSPORT – in the process taking a moment to skewer Keys (“He’s just trying to create a headline because he’s the other side of the world and no one is really listening”), it provoked another furious response from the beach-ball headed BeIN Sports host.
Ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Oxford United on Monday, Arteta said he’d not paid any attention to the debate and explained it’s important to bear in mind the context of his actions.
“I’m not part of that debate. I think publicly they can have their opinions. I try to do my best for this football club, to defend it, to promote it, to play with the passion I believe the game has to be played with,” he said.
“Every game is special and every manager behaves very differently regarding the circumstances. And you can’t take the context out of a situation. That is not fair. That’s me! Here and on the pitch, for the good and the bad.
He added: “I will always try to be better. Whatever I do, if it is tomorrow or the next day, is to make the club stronger, my players better, play better and win. So if I have to do something, I will do it. If I have to change something, believe me, I will look in the mirror at myself and I will change it very quickly.”
If you wanted to rile Keys up some more, you might want to vote for Mikel Arteta to be crowned Premier League Manager of the Month for November/December.