Sunday, February 25, 2024

Arteta reflects on defeat to Sporting, admits concern about injuries

If you’d written a list of things you didn’t want to happen to Arsenal this evening, it probably would have included injuries, playing extra time and losing. Tick. Tick. Tick.

It likely wouldn’t have included conceding a goal from near the halfway line. But then, when does that ever happen to us in Europe?

Unsurprisingly, at the end of a long evening that ended with a first-ever penalty shootout defeat on home soil, Mikel Arteta was left to rue his side’s sloppiness and a couple of injuries.

“Huge blow obviously,” the Spaniard told BT Sport after Sporting’s triumph.

“There were moments, especially in the first 75 minutes, when we weren’t at our level. We gave every single ball away and we didn’t have the capacity to dominate the game and take the game where we wanted.

“Then the last 15 minutes we had the chances and in extra-time the chances to win it, and when it goes down to penalties it’s a lot of uncertainty.”

He added: “[We have to] Look at ourselves, what we’ve done and why we weren’t good enough to go through.

“[We] Congratulate Sporting, and after that now we have 11 games. The first one is Palace, which is a final. Every word now has to be towards Palace, be better than today.”

The Gunners lost both Takehiro Tomiyasu and William Saliba in the first half but still managed to eke out a lead thanks Granit Xhaka’s strike on 19 minutes.

While the injured defenders will need to be assessed tomorrow, it doesn’t sound like good news for our Japan international.

“Tomiyasu looks pretty serious for his reaction straightaway and what he said to me. It’s very early and it’s difficult to know,” said the boss in his post-game press conference.

On Saliba, he added: “We don’t know [how serious it is], he had some discomfort and he couldn’t carry on so we had to take him off.”

He also reeled off a few other issues we’ve had this season in a clear riposte to Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag who moaned that Arsenal have had luck with injuries recently.

“We’ve been carrying injuries throughout the season. We had Emile out for four months, Gabriel Jesus out for four months, we didn’t have Alex [Zinchenko] for two and a half months, Thomas and Eddie for a month and a half. We’ve had quite a lot of injuries already but we’ve dealt with that.

He added: “The disappointment isn’t going to go away, it’s there now but it brings clarity. There are 11 games to play now, 11 Premier League games and we have a final; the first of which is against Crystal Palace. We have to recover and put all the energy there and all the focus there, Play better than today, the same effort as today and win it.”

While sending on Ben White and Rob Holding shouldn’t have unduly shaken the Gunners, Arteta’s side really struggled under pressure from their opponents.

“We lost Tomi, then we lost Saliba and it left us with difficult game management as we only had one window to make subs and a few players couldn’t play 90 minutes. But still, we didn’t find our rhythm or our flow, allowed too many spaces, we were late into and didn’t win enough duels and then we gave the ball away many, many times, sometimes time after time.”

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Anders Limpar

Fuck Ten Hag the half bastard son of sur Alex and japp stam! COYG!

Anon

I see him as full bastard

Henry

Fuck you and your injured player, Seven Hag

loose_cannon

Ten Haag also said United had beaten every team this season, which is just untrue. Maybe he’s still feeling the pressure after their nonsense quadruple bid failed!

Henry

Brentford say fuck him

karl g

He’s looking for anything to justify that 16 point gap:-)

Ozzie

Fact: Man city will be worried about our result tonight. COYG

Mayor McCheese

That’s the spirit! Look on the bright side: if we: a) win the title, b) had won the Europa League, and c) Tottenham finish fifth, we would have gifted them Champions League football next season. The loss tonight is a clever strategy of keeping that lot where they deserve to be next season!

Eric Blair

I think you just made that up, but I’ll cling to it!

Jay

So you would rather not win a title over Tottenham qualifying for the champions league, like history will remember and care if they did. I’m sorry but that is just plain unacceptable in my books and sounds like sour grapes.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

They scrapped that rule anyway;

If a club win the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League and finish in the top four, their qualification for the UCL through their league position is not transferred to another team.”

Qwaliteee

At last, someone else actually gets it. 👍🍺

If you look at our remaining fixture list and City’s potential remaining fixture list, it gives you heart.

They’ve got a big squad but still, they’re got a fucking lot of energy sapping football on the horizon compared to us.

And after Sunday, we’ll have one league game less to play than them as well. With, hopefully, an eight point lead.

COYG

Mentalista

Horrible news from Tomy. Idk why he looks so clumsy of late, frequently slipping, unbalanced, wrongfooted… Something’s not que right with his body strength.

Mayor McCheese

Nah. I’ve stretched to block a shot and done that exact same splits-to-knee-fuck move on a couple of occasions in my life. It happens. Nothing to do with body strength. But I will own clumsiness!

Mayor McCheese

Also, can I just say, thank fuck for the international break (a sentiment I never thought I’d express). Tomi may be a long-term, but hopefully the break means Saliba recovers in time for the restart.

Tomiyasu vain

And that he stays at Colney rather then warming the bench for France again

ClockEndRider

Has Saliba not been picked for France?

Qwaliteee

No, with any luck.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

He has been named in the squad but hopefully he’s allowed to pull out and rest at Colney even if the injury is minor.

Don’t want to tempt fate but if we want to win the league, we should be able to beat Palace at home with one or two regulars missing.

Though I would be worried if he’s missing the trip to Anfield in 3 weeks.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Vieira sacked. New manager bounce, isn’t that what they call it?

I’d say fairly unlikely they get a new manager in the next 48 hours.

Qwaliteee

He slipped because there was way too much surface moisture on the pitch.

Why we had the sprinklers on pre game quite so much I don’t know.

Then it threw it down with fucking rain. A few of the lads couldn’t keep their footing. Longer studs at half time, but that shouldn’t have been the case.

charvakan

Ugh. The conditions contributed to the injuries. Sporting played really well and smart. Too many passes for us, too many cute dummies when Vieira or someone should have just taken a whack from 15 yards. Not enough closing down dribblers. And what was Ramsdale doing so far off his line? Pedro Goshgollywhat a goal took a stride or two towards him before he unleashed that rocket. Plenty of time to backpedal. Turner would have saved that.

I'mHere

They didn’t play smart they were beating our players and the referee juat ignored their fouls they should have had 2 players sent off before 90 min

Nainsley Aitland Miles

But would Turner have saved that one-on-one a few minutes later….

Can’t blame Ramsdale at all for being off his line – you could clearly see Mikel urging the players to play higher. If the defence is higher, the keeper will be higher as a sweeper.

It was a once in a generation goal from distance. Nayim in 95, Bentley in ’08.

Moronic Inferno

Thats how Arsenal play, a high line to compress play to the oppositions half, Ramsdale’s positioning is a big part of that, I put no blame on him, just a bit unlucky with a one in a million shot.

Fatgooner

For me the REALLY annoying thing about tonight isn’t the defeat; it’s the two injuries plus the fact that we played 120 minutes of tiring football. I was slagged off in a post yesterday for saying that the EL was a massive distraction: anyone want to argue with me now? We only have two full days to recover before that massive PL match against Palace. Xhaka, Zinchenko, Gabriel and Martinelli all played the full 120 minutes. Not ideal. And let’s hope that Saliba isn’t too badly hurt and so can make it. This defeat is a blessing in disguise: it… Read more »

Tomiyasu vain

The big one is the Premier League.
Some dont have the wit to note the next round of fixtures would have flanked our visit to Anfield.. far better off without the games and the travel and with more time to work on … i dunno… set-pieces (16 corners to 1 in the Bournmouth game)

Eric Blair

Agree with you Fats! Except needing only a couple of players. This game, and Arteta’s selection for it, tells me we have a bit of a problem with squad depth in several positions.

The summer will be interesting on the transfer front. We seem to have a pretty settled 1st team and probably only need to spend big in a CM. Where we need to focus is on bringing up the overall squad level and I can think of at least 5 positions where that’s necessary.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

I wouldn’t begrudge them winning it either. Some of their players go down too easily and some of them were rough on Saka and Martinelli, but when they want to play, they do knock it about very well and are exciting going forward.

Now the dust has settled, it’s still sad we’re not in the draw for the next round today, but we now have clarity on the rest of the season.

11 games in 10 weeks. Fatigue should no longer be an issue.

Ozzie

I agree, but I’m surprised you know how it feels to play 120mins, Fatso.

Merlin’s Panini

We could’ve coped ok with one or the other being injured but both is more difficult. Now it’s White at RB, which is fine, and Holding at CB, which is slightly more concerning. White would be the ideal replacement for Saliba at CB but then we have no other obvious RB option. We used to have Bellerin, Maitland Niles, Cedric and Chambers as well and now we have none of them. Not that any of them were world beaters (other than Bellerin pre-injury).
We need Holding to bring his “final” attitude to the next few games depending on Saliba’s fitness.

Eric Blair

If Saliba and Tomiyasu are out for an extended period and miss most of our remaining games my optimism for the title will dwindle severely. I like Rob Holding but if we have to depend on him the next 11 games, then, well…

UzesGooner

Interlull may come at a good time – as long as we don’t pick up any other injuries. Ideally I’d like Partey, Saka and Saliba to all sit those games out….

Jimbo1

Rob Holding you know. He’s better than Cannavaro.

Gustardo

If Saliba is injured then White @cb , tierney left back and move Zinchenko over.
Holding is no where near good enough if we want to win the league

Johan

I like this solution, though it’s worth considering whether Tierney should go to the right. That way Gabriel can continue to cover Zinchenko on the left the way he has been (he makes it look almost easy, but it’s not). Hasn’t Tierney played right back for Scotland at times?

Neither of Bellerin, Maitland Niles, Cedric or Chambers are good enough to even be our second choice RB anymore.

I would also be very concerned with Holding in the team for any considerable length of time. Against Palace and Leeds should be fine to navigate, but certainly not at Anfield or the Etihad.

If Saliba is out for a while, I would even be tempted to play Kiwior against Palace and Leeds to see how he gets on.

Qwaliteee

You suggest Cedric and you get 14 thumbs up. 😂

loose_cannon

Was the worst of all worlds tonight: 120 bruising minutes, playing poorly, injuries and losing at the end of it all in the worst way possible. Palace will be a huge test of this teams resolve.

Tomiyasu vain

Should be staight to Penalties after the 180 minutes have been played across the two legs If they want to maintain a benefit for the group winning home side in this round then give them the choice before the game even starts

Tomiyasu vain

Surely we should be able to recall Soares from Fulham, not least as he has barely featured for them. It would allow us to rest White in situations like last weeks second half if we can get to that point in remaining games

Chris

I don’t think you can recall players outside of transfer windows? Happy to be corrected on that though!

Nainsley Aitland Miles

We have 11 games left in 10 weeks. We don’t need to ‘rest’ White or anyone else for the rest of the season.

Of course he could still pick up a knock himself…

Francesc

City are clear favourites for the title looking at the fixtures. We should not have lost against them at Emirates. We will lose the title by 1 point.

Billy bob

Our games: Palace, Leeds, Liverpool, westham, Southampton, Oil City, Chavski, Newcastle, Brighton + 2

Oil City’s games: Liverpool, Southampton, Leicester, Brighton, Arsenal, Fulham, Leeds + 4

Knowing the missing from the schedule (2 for us and 4 of City’s) I’m not sure City are favourites?!!

Nainsley Aitland Miles

The worry is that City have shown before that they’re capable of going on a ridiculous run and could win all of their remaining 11 games. They will likely win at least 8 or 9.

Obviously it’s one game at a time. But back of a matchbox calculation, we will probably have to win all 6 of our home games, avoid defeat at Liverpool and City, and win the other 3 away games. That’s using a pretty heavy stress test scenario though.

Ealing

One game at the time. Win with palace and put the 8 points gap. Leave them with game in hands when we prepare and play one game a week. Happy flowers

Eric Blair

Given how well this season has gone I think it’s easy to forget that Arteta is still pretty inexperienced as a manager. Tonight maybe showed that inexperience and I hope some lessons were learned there concerning squad rotation. If we find ourselves in a similar position next season I’m sure Arteta won’t play so many important first steamers in a EL game.

Merlin’s Panini

We won’t be in the Europa League next season…

BurleyDave

We might be in the later stages ….

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

I love the optimism.
You could be right though, if the game management isn’t better than yesterday. That reminded me of the Champions league in Wenger’s latter years

Eric Blair

If we finish 3rd the CL group we will.

Jimbo1

The problem was squad depth. Take a few key players out and the team cohesion drops dramatically. Arsenal still need to strengthen the level of their back up players to be able to compete on more than one front.

78/79/80

But that is not necessarily all about quality. It can be also that they have not played together as a team enough.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

Or could be about quality, which is why they don’t play as much and when they do, you see the difference.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Apart from Tierney or Turner, who could he have started/rested?
What I didn’t like was his subsitutions. It was obvious Partey should have been on earlier when our midfield was non existent, I was saying it from the 54th minute. Also, bringing on Saka wasn’t the right move, it was clear the match needed Odegaard to bring some calmness and quality

Eric Blair

Well, Turner and Tierney for a start. It’s easy to say in hindsight of course, now that we’ve gone out despite playing so many 1st teamers. But there were others, Kiwior and Holding for example.

Ealing

KT, kiwior and holding should all have started.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Yes, play 3 players who haven’t played together in an important European knockout tie, that makes sense.
Then when we lose 3 or 4 nil, it would have been, why did that back 4 start

Ebo

It’s hard to find the silver lining on a night like this but I do think this will be massively important experience for this young squad, many of whom don’t or barely have any previous experience of European knockout football. Sporting were in the champions league earlier this season and we might very well see sides like them next season, and this will have been a really good lesson that you really can’t afford to underestimate these sides and take your foot off the gas pedal, and you just need to find some way to stay focused and motivated even… Read more »

Oddo

I’m oddly happy that we lost.
We can concentrate on the prem. Both Manchester clubs have distractions, particularly city.

Gutted about the injuries and extra time though.

MeSoHornsey

This could be a really good humbling lesson if we treat it that way. Sporting are a very, very good technical, hard pressing side, on that performance I’m shocked they got knocked out of Spurs CL group.
Now our squad knows there can be no drop off. That anger and disappointment can now be honed on these last 11 cup finals.
I’ve heard rumours Saliba could be just a knock and nothing serious. Maybe even to prompt a France call up withdrawal.
Here’s hoping 🤞🏾

Francesc

Miss away goals

Baz

Who would have thought. After all the years of us being fucked over with away goals, they get rid of it…and we would have gone through with it. Classic.

The Peter Simpsons

Palace have just released our legend Paddy Vieira from his post so I’m now looking for a big, guilt-free win on Sunday.

Kiwamya

FFS first we are deprived of a match against Lampard’s. Everton and now we don’t get to face Paddy’s Palace.

Bloody new manager bounce again!

Nainsley Aitland Miles

I doubt they will have time to get a new manager in the next 2 days.

Mentalista

Nooooo not the new manager bounce again.

Ridiculous decision really, Palace are 12th in the league, what exactly was Steve Parish expecting, top 7 and a place in Europe? No chance.

Leon

On one side we crashed out disappointingly of a European competition that we would have been favoured to win. Conversely we are now not having to rotate and balance our squad of players and not having to play a European fixture two days before a much more important league game. Speaking from my own perspective I am not at all upset we went out last night – I would have preferred it that we went out during regulation time and not having our players injured but hey ho. We can now watch City battle on two additional fronts while we… Read more »

Palace just sacked Vieira. Expect Another group of New-Manager-Fired-Up opponents on Sunday.

PTAFC

What’s going to happen next year in the Champions League when we have to play our strongest team in most games? Poor decision making by Arteta, poor sloppy arrogant performance by the players, he stated the other day that Vieira gives him a selection headache!? Really!! Well there’ll be no chances now for him or Nelson to start any more games. More pressure now as only one trophy to play for. Palace game was always going to be massive, as are all games that are left, but even more so now following this defeat. Vieira sacked as well so look… Read more »

Peter

Vieria was poor tonight

karl g

You just have to accept we had a bad night. Passing was the poorest I can recall from this team. Vieira was desperately trying to impress and just couldn’t find a teammate.

I get why Arteta played a strong team to keep momentum, but I’ve never been excited by the Europa League and this is better than a league defeat.

He’s got no hair but we don’t care...

Still don’t understand or agree when managers keep their match winners on the bench only to scramble to bring them on when their team is losing or drawing and needs to win. It’s such a risky strategy.
Why the hell didn’t Arteta play Saka and Ø from the start, get us a couple in front then take them off?

JimetheGooner

Maybe he had a different plan on when to bring them on. But having already used two subs meant he had to be careful about the third time he can make sub in the regular time.

He’s got no hair but we don’t care...

And please don’t start talking about injuries. I can already hear rat face neville and Talk Shite radio hammering us for making excuses.

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