“Go to church” – that’s Mikel Arteta’s message for anyone who has a problem with the way Arsenal’s players and staff greeted Reiss Nelson’s winner against Bournemouth last weekend.
Bouncing back from two-nil down, the Gunners secured all three points with what was effectively the last kick of the game and the celebrations that followed saw some of a red-and-white persuasion technically break pitch encroachment rules.
While referee Chris Kavanagh highlighted the situation in his post-match report, the FA ultimately decided not to charge the club with any wrongdoing.
Understandably, Arteta feels vindicated and when asked if he harbours any concerns about his players’ behaviour sent a shot across the bows of the naysayers.
“None. If you win in football, you celebrate,” he said ahead of Sunday’s trip to Fulham.
“You want passion and emotion. There is nothing better than scoring goals and winning football matches. So if not, you go to church.
“For sure, I will not be telling the players not to celebrate on Sunday.”
Hopefully, Arsenal will have something to celebrate. Craven Cottage has not been an easy place to visit this season and with Manchester City closing the gap at the top of the table to two points, the pressure is on to get a result.
After a midweek trip to Portugal and illness taking a toll on some players, there are added complications. On the plus side, it sounds as though the injury crisis affecting the attacking department may not be as bad as Arteta would have people believe.
Gabriel Jesus in contention to feature at Fulham – Trossard as well.
Full story 👇https://t.co/LuEWbluAM7
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) March 11, 2023
According to Charles Watts of Goal.com, Leandro Trossard, who picked up a groin injury last weekend, and Gabriel Jesus, who hasn’t kicked a ball in anger since December, will both be part of the squad for the trip to West London.
Even if they aren’t fit to start the match, the fact they could offer something off the bench is a huge bonus with matches coming thick and fast.
Martin Odegaard and Kieran Tierney, who both suffered from illness this week, also trained on Saturday.