Monday, July 15, 2024

Arteta: We have to do things better defensively

Mikel Arteta spoke to Sky Sports after the 3-3 draw with Southampton this evening.

Here’s what he had to say.

Happy with the comeback?

Obviously unhappy with the result. We made it difficult again for ourselves, but mistakes are a part of football and I must say the way we reacted, the way our team reacted, I love our players more than ever.

Because you make a mistake, then you make another mistake, and it’s complicated when you are fighting for what we’re fighting for. To turn that around and play with the courage we played is incredible. We were on the way back and we conceded again with a sloppy goal from a set-play and the whole sequence previously is not good enough.

But at the end we should have won the game. We created enough chances and it didn’t happen so at the end we are disappointed for sure.

What was the problem?

Well, starting the game the way we did, giving a goal away, straight away it makes it really difficult. Giving the ball away and conceding another goal from one pass, but you can’t concede three goals in this league. When you concede three goals in the way we did, a really sloppy way, it’s extremely difficult to win matches. Even if we scored three and we probably should have scored five or six, but it wasn’t enough to win.

Is that when it shows what’s at stake, with such a young team?

Yeah, but this young team reacts in a way which is incredible. Against the odds and when you are under pressure, the way they continued to play, the chances they had, the spirit, the way they tried, it’s just a joy to watch. But I feel a lot for them today, some individuals are really hurt, but the message has been clear: that I love them.

What else did you say? It must have been difficult.

*exasperated sigh* Well of course it’s difficult, they are down and more willing than anybody can imagine to win it. You can see that, and they are really disappointed in the dressing room, but it’s clear that defensively we have to do things better, and not to concede three goals the way we have.

Your message about the title – it’s still in your hands.

For sure it is, that hasn’t changed. Obviously the task now is even bigger, but the first thing we have to do is click and cut out the mistakes and do all the simple things and basic things much better. After that we will win games again because we deserve to win, expect for those moments.

Concerned about form ahead of City – is it like a final.

It’s not a final, there are still six games to go and obviously the concern is just turning around this moment. Especially if there are some players who are in doubt. Get those doubts away, and go to Manchester to try and win the game.

In football you go through times when you make errors and you have to come away from that. They reacted throughout the game. It’s not like they bottled it and said ‘It’s nothing to do with me’. I haven’t seen anybody hiding.

It’s been a good season, for this to be an amazing season, do you have to win on Wednesday?

Yes, I agree. I am confident, because they showed their level in a difficult context. Chance after chance, we have to try and do that again.

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Emi Rates

When their third goal came Arteta looked like he lost the will to live. I felt exactly the same. For fucks sake team – sort yourselves out!


All soft goals to give away tonight. Very frustrating, because we’re better than that – much better. We need to switch the fuck on, wake up, speed up and stop pissing about with the fucking thing, because City will absolutely destroy us if don’t. The amount of time we wasted getting the ball eventually over the half way line and then losing possession cheaply in that first 45 was criminal. When the handbrake is taken off, nine times out of ten, we score. Quite why we play so conservatively until it’s all but too late is getting to be tedious… Read more »

Bleeding Gums Murphy

Very frustrating with holding passing to Gabriel and Gabriel playing it back to holding. Drove me fecking mad tonight. Shows how much we are missing Saliba offensively. Just read through some of comments on match and player ratings. The fickleness of some fans is unbelievable. “We know why city sold Zinchenco” “this is why pep got rid of Jesus” “partey is too old and not good enough” cheese and bread Lord give me strength. One fella even said we need to buy a tall striker because of Saka’s crosses tonight 😂😂. Get caciedo or rice in the summer, couple more… Read more »


Playing it out from the back is all very well, when the boys are switched on and want to move the ball quicker.



If we conceded in the 88th and 90th then there is literally no way we are holding on for a draw. Then 8 mins injury time… How didn’t we capitalise on that massive momentum shift?

Emi Rates

Jesus fluffed a beautiful cross from Saka. Headers not his strong side and I say that with frustration, not as an excuse. Giroud would have nailed that. End of!

Partey hoofed a decent chance to the moon. He does that a lot. Sometimes he scores but not today and it was fucking annoying to witness.

They were also very lucky when that excellent shot by Trossard hit the bar.



Plus the bloody goal line clearance and the lunging delfection of Reece’s shot.


Partey shooting from 35 yards didn’t help!


Arteta has made some really odd decisions lately. I think he might be panicking a little bit. I feel like Jorginho was brought in for cover at midfield as a highly experienced player, but then we slot in a very raw Viera in a crucial title chasing game? It does’t make alot of sense.


I completely forgot about Jorginho. when was the last time he played for us?


Very true that, Jorginho should have started ahead of Viera in a pressure game like this at this stage of the season


Yeah Vieira was a strange, I’m not going to lay into him like a lot have. I just don’t think he is as good as some of the other options we have at the moment.
Alcaraz had the freedom of the field and I don’t think that happens with Jorginho playing.
Is Xhaka going to shake off this sickness for City? Cannot play Vieira from the off in that match.
Really missing Saliba too, defensively we look scared and I really worry about Holding against Haaland.


Not wanting to single out Viera ( I could name 4/5 other players that had stinkers), but I agree. How’s he getting ahead of Jorginho and more importantly ESR. Viera hasn’t shown enough for me to prove he’s ready for big games at this level. Emile on the other hand was our joint top scorer last season and a proven performer in crunch games. I just don’t understand it. He’s not had a look in.. Bringing Kiwior on at Liverpool was baffling and taking Oodergard off at West Ham also seemed counterintuitive. Been a great season, but hard to watch… Read more »

Aleksander Włodarz

Gunners are the Sultans of draw ⚽ right now


He should rip Ramsdale a new arsehole in private. Always a mistake in Gabriel, ZInchenko not a full back. We do miss Saliba. We always concede stupid goals even when we win. I worry about the city game with that defence. Jesus is a good player but not a striker and Arteta making poor selection choices. Trossard didn’t deserve to be dropped. Feels very Wengeresque at the moment


We are short of competition in defence which needs to be addressed. To win the league you need this competition otherwise uncertainty sets in when you have injuries and you have to rely on players who rarely start.


Tomi injury has hit us otherwise White would be CB.


In hindsight maybe Zinny should play the Xhaka role and Tierney LB. Arteta took the draw like a champ, big game coming up I hope we still have something up our sleeves.


i think people are underestimated how bad Rob holding really is today he proved he simply not good enough the Guy is on the same level as mustafi and kolasinac if he plays on Wednesday we will lose the game 4-1 if Saliba plays and all our first choice starters are fit will beat them 3-2


He suffered from some of the same mistakes in build up that most of our guys did but defensively he was alright, won almost every header and tried a couple of ambitious passes as well.


If you are a club like Arsenal who is looking to challenge, you need your central defenders competing with each other to start. Manchester City do not have squad players like Rob Holding, they have players who come into the team and do the job. On the face of it Rob Holding is the consummate professional – he is content to sit on the bench, never complains and is happy to make an appearance once in a while. He has found his niche which is good for him but for Arsenal it is a disaster because when we lose a… Read more »


Man City this…Man City that….

Man City are bankrolled by oil money.

End of.


We did not drop points because of Rob Holding – and some day you lot treating him as a scapegoat are going to change the fucking vinyl.

Another Paul

He did lose the player he was marking too easily for their 3rd goal. So yes, he contributed in a big way to the two dropped points


And what of Ziiinch – HE was the one marking the far post. Yet he just stood there and watched while the bloke ambled in and nodded it home. Holding – in fairness was caught between 2 attackers coz Benny had gone into Zinch’s LB position on the near post, for that corner. Wtf was that about????


Let’s 5-3-2 it and shithouse a 1-0 win against the oil mafia.


Sorry that’s not the Arsenal way and don’t give me the 1-0 to the Arsenal crap, our club hasn’t aimed to play like that in more than two decades. Let’s go there and play our incredible brand of football and make the world see we’re better than them and it’s our time now. And if we fall short this time around, we’ll do it next season.


Actually, in some of Arteta’s earlier games against City with Luiz at CB and Auba up front, that’s pretty much what he tried to do.


I totally agree. Would rather fail doing it our way then adopting tactics that just ain’t us. Time to be brave and play our football on City’s patch. We nearly did it at Emirates! COYG!!!!!!!!!


The game is so bent that I wouldn’t mind if we just went and stunk out the place.

Defend, shithouse and scoee a late winner and go celebrate in front of their fans.


If the game is so bent that we can’t win playing the Arsenal way then for me it’s not worth watching. There are so many better things to do with your time these days than watch shit football, I became a fan of this club for its values and the way it plays so let’s show we can still win that way.

If we go all out and win 1-0 fine, but aiming for it in the first place would be compromising our identity and that never ends well.


We’ve just shipped 3 goals at home against bottom placed team and you want us to play the same way, against a team that is scoring for fun?
Arteta has played a back 3/5 loads this season, either clinging onto a lead or chasing a game with attacking wing backs. I suppose you stop watching at that point?
Literally the only time he has beaten city was with a back 5 in the fa cup semi final 2020. I take it you didn’t celebrate us winning that trophy?
I can’t stand all these sanctimonious fans.


Wanting us to play good football is sanctimonious?? If that’s the case I’m happy to be that, and I can’t stand fans who would have us win at all costs. That makes you no different to fans of any other club. I guess you’d like us to be bought by a nation state as well and have unlimited finances? I don’t want us to play the same way, I want us to play better. Learning from our mistakes doesn’t have to mean changing the system, just work on your weaknesses and play better! It’s not about whether it’s a back… Read more »


Ebo – I am with you on the primacy of values. But winning ugly against them would be fine by me. The broader issues of cheating constantly going unpunished is why I have been thinking about moving on from EPL football.


Got a feeling that with the pressure off us now, we will beat City on Wednesday


Why do you think the pressure is off? I feel it is rising game by game because we are shooting ourself in the foot over and over again in the last 3 games!

Emi Rates

With all that foot shooting going on no wonder Partey aimed high from that 35 yarder.

mike D

It reminds me a lot of Anfield in 1989 – we completely bottled it in the games leading up to that match and should have had the league done and dusted long before. And yet, when absolutely no-one expected it, we went and beat the dominant team in England at that time and beat them well. It might not happen again but stranger things have happened.


not me, pal. They’re loving this and will go to crush us on City. Having dropped points like this, being young and tired, I think we’re on a hiding to nothing.


I hope you are right, but without Saliba the defence has lost its confidence. I fear for them on Wednesday.


That’s some weird logic mate… the pressure would’ve been off if we had the NINE point cushion we could – and should – have had come Wednesday.


It’s not just the defending, it’s the entire team. What hurts so much isn’t missing out on the title: it’s the way we’ve done it. Over the first 25 games of this season we’ve proved that we were certainly good enough to win the title. We’ve played some devastating football and looked really solid and exciting. But the collapse over the last 3 games has been sickening. It’s got nothing to do with ability: it’s all about mental strength. The difference between the elite sportsmen and women and rest is how they cope with pressure. The great competitors can do… Read more »


Agree with much of your sentiment but, sadly, this may have been too much too soon for this side. A title is won over 38 games. We have the talent at our best, but maybe not yet the consistency and staying power to cope with injuries and take a financially doped behemoth all the way. We’ve made a pretty good fist of trying though. COYG!!

Aussie Henry

Bit harsh I think. We’ve got a young team who have had a wobble at the wrong time, but none of us would have predicted we would even be in this position this year. They will learn and be better for the experience. A few additions to the squad and we will push again next year.


Mental fatigue cannot be overlooked. Week in, week out, its the same players. Opponents make five subs in every game, basically half the onfield team. And Arteta puts our on with minutes left.

The team chasing us down financially dope their way to the title. Players time waste until they’re book then they’re subbed because teams have five now. Nothing changes, no-one ever gets punished. Cheating wins.

I’m not putting that on our players.


Happy St Totteringham’s Day.


Last season, I finally had the change to go to my first ever Arsenal match and we lost 1-2 to Brighton. I was gutted and heartbroken I am 24 years old and I have never (consciously) experienced Arsenal being in a title race. I imagined it being exhausting but I never really knew what to expect. Tonight my heart broke again but at the same time I believe stronger than ever that we are going to win the league. Maybe this season is coming to soon for this group of players, but next season we will surely do it. I… Read more »


The players are nervous. You can really see and feel it. They are such a young team and are learning on the job. It’s clear that we lost our swagger in recent weeks. But I don’t want to be as fatalistic as many people here. We can still win it! And if we don’t, I’m still very proud of this team and the progress we are making as Arsenal Football Club! Let’s get behind the boys and enjoy the ride! Don’t listen to pundits, don’t read too much. Just live your life and go game by game. Remember that Liverpool… Read more »


I think its mental fatigue. So it won’t get better until the pressure is off completely. Seen it too many times before not to recognize it.

Mikels Arteta

Trossards needs to start. I don’t know where you put him in, but he needs to start.

I love Martinelli, he can be very frustrating at times holding onto the ball for too long.

Jorginho should have started over Fabio Viera for me


Trossard starting will not stop us from leaking goals.

Frog In Ze Room

Well Jesus is just a younger Lacazette?


Remember that irrelevant Europa League game vs Sporting at home? Where we decided to start with most of our first XI and Big Willy got wrecked 🙁

I’m afraid that’s where we lost the title, and it sucks, Cus nobody gives a flying f*CK about the Europa league

Would like to see Ben White at CB and with Tierney at RB, and jorginho instead of vieira in the # 8 role. Nothing against vieira but he’s simply not good enough at the moment


Vieira was flat. But he’s sly and gets into places just when you think its not his day.

But yes, today was not good enough.


I would rather still be in the Europa League. It is better to be playing and winning football matches at a regular clip than not. I think the full week advantage/“muh fitness”line is way too reductive and basically FIFA/PES videogame thinking, or, more uncharitably, essentially bullshit. The main counter argument is our squad depth just isn’t quite as robust as it needs to be for an extra 2-5 games which is probably vaguely true but, meh, injuries can happen at any time in any context and we’ve coped with them pretty well for 8 months. I think the boss probably… Read more »


It’s not about throwing the game, it’s also about giving much needed game time to your squad players along with much needed rest for the first XI. It’s about prioritising the PL which is a very hard title to win in this era. If bench players can’t beat sporting at home then are they really good enough to make the bench for Arsenal? One big reason why we were top for so long was because apart from Jesus we were relatively injury free for the first half of the season. And Mikel risked that for a winning a competition in… Read more »


The next 5 days are going to be so tedious, with people asking “Can Arsenal win at City?” The answer is “no”. Obviously “no”. Mind-numbingly obviously “no”, and yet people will discuss it seriously.


I disagree. “Can” but “won’t”. Thats my take. Not positive, but its honest.


Stay away from Sky and TalkShite and Twitter.

Treat yourself.


I think the effect of pressure is overblown. We’re too young, no one but Jesus and Zink have done it before. Of course it plays a role, but only a fraction. When Leicester won were they magically better equipped to deal w the pressure? When Liverpool won their first title in eons were they better equipped? When various Chelshit teams suddenly click and win are they better equipped? I’m not buying it. We aren’t good enough and are only here because we’re over performing. Over the course of a season all teams find their level, ours is top 4. Leicester… Read more »


I think mentality is a big factor. Its why I love Martinelli. He seldom lets “narrative” or “energy” get to him but rather sets to change it himelf.


Leicester had the advantage of knowing that Vardy would throw himself in front of a defender and get a dodgy penalty. Every, Single. Time. This team has had some really poor decisions go against them. There’s too much noise going on around this team, they need to block out the social media and just play their game. The pressure is huge, the demands are huge. I don’t need to win the title to love this team, I’d be over the moon if they could do it, because I think they deserve it, but if we can regroup and give City… Read more »


Well said. The love and progress will not stop! You are right whatever happens we are going places. And who knows we might just pull off a miracle.


get better back up defenders then… Holding is mid-table quality at best.


Have to use your subs when your opponents have five to bring on every game. Its vasically half a team minus the goalkeeper.

You can’t keep pace if every week you play the same lads for so long. Other teams being able to bring on half a team midway in the second half adds lots of fresh legs and energy to the game.

This is why financial doping has to be punished. If it wins you leagues with three subs, then it definitely does with five.


I must say, its times like this I am tempted to stop watching football. Cheating wins. Thats the message of our era. Financial doping gets you trophies, rolling around pretending youre injured gets you points. Nothing is ever done about it and almosy every season its the same story. Arsenal have been a real breath of fresh air this year. That they’re likely to lose the title to this team by dropping points to teams that just play without any self-respect or integrity like that. There is a stark contrast that pits what I love about football against pretty much… Read more »


I find this pauper act to basically be kinda ludicrous cope coming from the fans of the tenth richest club in world football (a club which would’ve walked into the putative super league despite nearly 20 years of underachievement!), who let’s not forget had a collective tantrum after being merely the eighth best team in England for two seasons in a row (can you hear the violins?). This more or less arbitrary distinction between essentially limitless state capital and essentially limitless private capital is a bit surreal (to say nothing of the bastardry that undergirds the Kroenke fortune that feeds… Read more »

Bleeding Gums Murphy

WHAT!!! Are you saying that we are not being singled out and conspired against by refs and var and media and being cheated by the premiership and every team in it and are not the moral conscience of football. Well I never 🤓


Charges brought against City, mate. If they’re brought against us then I’ll respond to it with the same level of consistency.

Because, contrary to your baseless assumptions made in the comment above, I do actually care about this shit. And as I say, if its Arsenal or not, if the game teaches you that cheating wins, then I’m out.

I’ve more worthwhile, fun and rewarding things to do with my life than spend my money on a corrupt game that won’t change.

John Collins

I just love this arsenal team.
Yesterday just prove that we can be down and not out. Southampton played to survive and when they smell blood they took advantage of that. Then our great team decided they had enough and came back roaring. A couple of penalty decisions and we would have won the game.
I don’t care if people say we lost the championship but I am proud we fought for it. Something we have not done in a long while. Just how much hate and envy we’ve received from our rival teams.


My concern with our defence is lack of cover and a lack of competition. If we have our first choice of Zinchenko – Gabriel – Saliba – White fully fit and on form its fine but take just one of them out of the team and we are severely compromised. Arsenal needs to have three central defenders who are competing with one another and not two players who know they will be chosen if they are fit. Rob Holding is a real professional – hardly ever plays, never complains and is happy to make an appearance once in a while… Read more »


I’m not sure that saying he loves the players is motivational. More like accepting a poor performance. That said, injuries to key players have derailed our challenge late on and we don’t have the squad to bridge the deficit.


Arsenal simply needs more competition in certain areas of the pitch – competition for places brings focus and a willingness to work hard to retain your place. It just feels at certain times complacency is an issue equal to mental and physical fatigue.


Such a shame This game would be an amazing game to watch in any other season …..unfortunately not in this one.


The old feeling of disappointment seems to have reared its ugly head once again…


Arsenal are doin me ead in.


Presumptuous of anyone to second guess Super Mik but here I go. It seems to me the key to this team returning to form is replacing Rob Holding. The only replacement is Ben White but that means finding another right back. Is it beyond the realm of possibility that Saka could play in this position? That would open up a space for Trossard up front.


Far be it from me to second guess Super Mik, but could Saka slot in at right back? That would free Ben White to move centrally and open a space for Trossard up front. Potentially a win-win.

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