Thursday, April 25, 2024

“Empty” Arteta says Arsenal have to look in the mirror

Mikel Arteta admitted he felt “empty” after watching Arsenal draw for a third game in a row to hand Manchester City a psychological boost in the title race ahead of Wednesday’s top-of-the-table clash at the Etihad.

The Gunners were heavy favourites heading into Friday night’s clash with bottom-place Southampton but found themselves climbing a mountain from the off after conceding inside the first minute.

When the Saints extended their lead on 14 minutes and reestablished a two-goal advantage past the hour mark despite Gabriel Martinelli’s reducing the deficit in the first half, it looked like Arteta’s players would fall to a fourth defeat of the season.

Amazingly, they found the energy to mount a late comeback, scoring twice at the death to snatch a point while also squandering two chances to grab a near-miraculous winner.

At the end of a roller coaster evening at Emirates Stadium, Arteta told his post-game press conference: “At the end, [I feel] empty obviously, because it was a very emotional game and I’m disappointed because we didn’t get the three points.

“After all that happened in the game I still believe that we deserved it, but we have to look in the mirror because we gave three really easy goals away and when you do that it’s extremely difficult to win in this league.”

While the manager felt compelled to criticise his side’s terrible defending, he also reaffirmed how lucky he feels to coach them and praised their never say die attitude.

“When we win I give explanations. When we draw I try to give you the right explanation. Today is clear. You cannot concede three goals in the way that we did and expect to win games in the Premier League unless you make a miracle or a performance like we did in the last 15 minutes, then you still have the chance to win it.

He went on: “They want it [the title] so much. For me personally, what I’ve experienced with not only the players but the staff and our supporters, it was incredible and I know how difficult it is. After one minute we made a big mistake to concede and then we made another mistake and it was 2-0.

“You’re trying to just play and play and play against a team that is doing what they have to do because of where they are, and after the first time they go past the halfway line they scored a third one and then it’s a big question mark of what you do as a team and what you do as an individual.

“The response of the players, I cannot love them more, honestly. It is a joy to coach them and it is a joy to be a part of this club and to experience what I have experienced with this team. At the end the magic moment was there to be taken, we had two big chances at 3-3 to score but today it didn’t happen unfortunately.”

Arteta’s task this morning is to compartmentalise the disappointment of the result and focus minds on the next test; a daunting face-off with title rivals City. The Gunners haven’t beaten the Blues in a Premier League encounter since 2015.

“I don’t see the lack of confidence when a team is able to do that [what we did tonight],” he said.

“Normally the players start to hide in certain moments – I didn’t see a single player do that, they were willing to take risks, to take the initiative.

“That’s why we created the chances we created, that’s why we got back to 3-3 from 3-1 and should have won the game. So, the confidence is there, it’s those moments that we need to cut back.

“At this level, we cannot give away the goals that we have given. It’s as simple as that.”

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After a cup of coffee and reflection, I cannot help but fucking love this team. Young, talented, completely mental at times. We’re top of the league in the run-in. Champions league in the bag. Arsenal hasn’t felt this stressful for a long time and that’s a good thing 👍

Johnny 4 Hats

While I agree with your sentiment and appreciate the post, I just wish we could display a little more professionalism. Gabriel Jesus – Stop appealing endlessly for penalties and take your chances. Zinchenko – Your performance has to reflect your impassioned huddle speeches. Vieira – Don’t endlessly tell the crowd to give more when you are giving so little. Partey – Never do that again. Ever. You know what I’m talking about. We are 100% passion and 0% rationality and game management. I love this side and I am being a little harsh. But I watch an ice cold City… Read more »

Emi Rates

“Partey – Never do that again.”

When he hoofs it from outside the box like that he at least must make it hit the target. I can live with a wall of players deflecting it, a goalie saving it, it hitting the bar or a post but what I can’t bear are shots that go sky high. That’s what Ramsey did all the time and it made me not miss him at all when he left. Keep it on the fucking ground!


The maturity you speak of will only come with experience. Aside from our City buys and Xhaka, none of the lads have been involved in a title race before – they’re all running in the outside lane. What they’re going through now will stand them in good stead next season; even if we don’t win the title this time I think we will be in the mix next season. (Another element of the word moronic media comments has been this idea that we will somehow go back to being mid table just because United, Chelsea and Liverpool will ‘spend big’… Read more »

Johnny 4 Hats

I know, I’m being over harsh. I’m just so disappointed as last night was a huge chase missed.

But it’s not a prerequisite that inexperience breeds panic. A lot of that Leicester side didn’t have title winning experience. They just powered on through and won the league comfortably.

There’s times when the screaming and the play acting and the endless geeing up of the crowd are needed.

But last night was not one of those nights. Last night should have been a proffessional dissection of a team much, much worse than us.

Greg in Seattle

Re Leicester, they won the league that year with 81 points and 12 draws. The second place team was ten points behind them in the end. It is years back now so memory is hazy, but IIRC it was miraculous that they were there and held their nerve, but it was a remarkably down year for all of the power clubs and i can’t see the pressure being equivalent. I don’t think you can compare that with the youngest squad in the league going toe to toe with City in full flower with Haaland. Not to mention fanbase expectations. I’m… Read more »


That Leicester side didn’t have the like of City behind them. This for me is added pressure. It was us and the Spurs behind them then. Do u think if the chasers were united and Spurs the media would be slashing our chances at every opportunity?
There is a difference when one is being chased by a known killer lion, and when being chased by wild dogs…

Heavenly Chapecoense

These boys brought us here and I am grateful for that. The very reason they failed is that they wanted it so much they started shaking. Wished we had a young Fabregas and a young Rooney in the team but we don’t.
Not their fault that we’ve been waiting for 19 years. Some would disagree but we have the best owners in the league. We will be back in CL every year and even go past Bayern sometimes.


It needs to mature but it is also a squad that is lacking in certain areas in both the first choice eleven and back up players. The loss of Saliba has hurt the confidence of the defence and the balance of the team. Veira just isn’t ready for this level yet and as good as Jesus is in build up play, the team desperately need a forward who can stick the ball in the net. He missed so many chances last night. Had Arsenal had a Haaland or a Kane they would have won comfortably.

El Mintero

Exactly right on Jesus. Which is what I said when we signed him. A brilliant second striker but not the goal machine we needed.

David C

I think we should have started Jorginho instead of Vieira too. Vieira is too light weight right now for our mid. I think he might need a loan or at least start working out with Eddie!

Praying for a miracle against City!

Frog In Ze Room

Is it too early to say Jesus is just a younger Lacazette? Would start Trossard upfront against City.

Funsho Patrick

We’re infinitely more secure with Saliba in the side…I wonder how many more points we could have had…we’ve scored 7 in 3games… surely wouldn’t have conceded 7!! And Fabio Viera?? Sure we shouldn’t have gone with Emile Smith Rowe? A proven premier League scorer

A Different George

I think we are underestimating Saliba’s importance. It’s not that Holding makes errors (so do Gabriel and Saliba himself)–it’s that it changes the whole way we play, where Zinchenko can go, Partey’s attacking influence, how Odegaard can just look forward and take positional risks. I honestly believe we may have one of the great centre-halves of the next decade, on the level of Puyol or Rio Ferdinand (I know people won’t like that comparison but I’m trying to be objective) or Van Dijk in his influence on the team’s play.


We all knew we were short at start of season, we have a champs league first 11 and a Europa cup bench which was ok at start of season as we didn’t have such lofty ambitions.
One thing I know for sure is Saliba is a generational talent. If we can keep him and saka and add reinforcements the future is bright..
Teams like us and pool can challenge but we need 15 nailed on starters. Honestly I can count 13 right now. First 11 and Tomi and Trossard. We need two more and luck

Finsbury Park Gooner

Once again Zinchenko was probably our worst player. Constantly losing the ball and fully at fault for at least one of their goals, his head’s not right at all. Needs benching for KT until the end of the season. And for the love of God can we get ESR on the pitch over that lightweight Vieira, whatever point Arteta is trying to prove is just hurting the team now.


I’m same way his insistence on playing Willian did


True! He seems to look at other teams with condescension, no wanting to change tactics, believing what he has in mind must work.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Heard Guardiola say many times nothing would make him change his system. He actually does. Sold Cancelo because he couldn’t play in his new system, now saying same about Walker.


*not wanting*


Strangely Willian is playing quite well again now he has left Arsenal. Sometimes good players just don’t click with certain styles of play for no obvious reason. Maybe this is happening with Veira too.

Early Days

Maybe it’s Vieira’s first season in England, Jimbo. I remember many great players who took a season to adapt. Pires comes to mind. Even more recently, Ødegaard was decent but nowhere near his level now.


Zinchenko and Jesus are very good players but both have glaring issues, as evidenced last night. It’s not hard to see why city saw them as disposable


I agree with you completely, especially on Vieira. I don’t think he’ll ever make it in EPL. No strength no speed. Yet to show his vaunted skills. Zinchenko is currently exhibiting of ‘entitlement ‘. KT should see the team homebound.


How many opportunities has Vieira been given to shine?
He is a young player bought into the club just nine months ago.
He would benefit hugely by going on loan to a club like Brentford and Fulham where the grounding would be excellent.


*feeling of entitlement *


I’m trying to think of a good reason to play Zink against City. I worry with his emotions pkaying his former club will be too much for him. He can give us so much in attack but he will have a lot to deal with on the left. We will be pinned back at times. Such a hard decision and hard to justify ripping up the game plan just for this game. It’s a coin toss in my mind…oof the nerves already starting.


Zinchenko is our Trent, when everything is good he’s the best player on the pitch. When cracks appear he is so exposed it’s scary.

Naked Cygan

Agree about Vieira. Not sure why Arteta and the coaching staff are turning a blind eye to how bad Vieira is. Just not ready for this level against the team at the bottom of the league. Sad….. He will probably start against City too ffs.


To be honest they should have been looking in the mirror after the West Ham and come out firing on all cylinders last night.

The defence just looked unorganised and nervous when under pressure and that has been the case since Salah scored. I worry about a collapse and a thumping against City, just don’t see any confidence at the back.


It’s hard not to be a bit doom and gloom thinking about city sitting there licking their lips. They’ll certainly be looking forward to putting Ramsdale et al under pressure on Tuesday. But there are some positives. Coming back to draw in dramatic fashion means we carry a bit of momentum with us. City will probably think a draw is a good result and so may be caught in two minds on how to attack Tuesday night. This team doesn’t know when it’s beaten and the heads did not go down so I think we’ll go down swinging for the… Read more »


To my surprise after listening to all the annoying voices that want to see us lose, City’s run-in isn’t that easy! Arsenal (H), Fulham (A), West Ham (H), Leeds (H), Everton (A), Chelsea (H), Brighton (A) and Brentford (A). And don’t forget CL and FA-Cup. They have to do their job, too! They can win them all, sure. 3 of them are fighting for survival. The other 3 are fighting for Europe. And then there is Chelsea (lol). And last but not least there is the Arsenal! Let’s see where we stand after City away, Chelsea at home and Newcastle… Read more »


True, but the team has to get the job done in the trenches first. City’s hiccups if they come at all , should be icing on the cake. Not the cake!


I agree. Fulham, Everton, Brighton and Brentford away are tough games. They can’t win them all.


And Pep and his masters want the Champions League the most, too. They may well drop points in the premier league


Haarland will destroy our CBs . It’s a frightening prospect


Suggest a back line of White, KT , Gabrielle and the young Kiwo… Holding should be rested. The defence couldn’t be any better with him in it.


Kiwior…..? 😂

Stay off the potent stuff, mate.

Holding has already kept Haaland goalless at the Etihad already this season on the FA Cup.


Holding kept him quiet (goalless) in the FA Cup tie – and at the Etihad, too.

Bleeding Gums Murphy

Saliba injury and we concede 9 goals in 5 games. Defence gas become a bag of nerves. What Ramsdale did for their first goal test was shocking. It stank of folding under pressure and making terrible decisions. We are struggling to learn at the moment. We can beat city if by a miracle saliba is fit. Without him we are on a wing and a prayer

Emi Rates

“Defence gas”

Let’s buy some and sprinkle it generously over the entire team.

A Different George

I thought Ramsdale’s mistake had nothing to do with pressure. He had three easy outlets, no one closing him down. It was a terrible mistake, but it had a lot more to do with a bit of overconfidence or a bit of lost concentration, not with fear or lack of belief.


The only solid defender now is White. Lest we forget. KT to the rescue as we await Saliba’s return.


Much as I love Benny Blanco, he has been as rattled as the rest lately.

He was well beaten by Firminho up at Anfield for Liverpool’s second and left Saka and Zinchenko on the right post to deal with whichever Z lister scored Southampton’s third last night.

None of the boys have covered themselves in glory lately, not even Ben White.


He coaches them.
They still Make the same stupid errors


Therefore vicariously liable. QED!!!


Mikel, enough with Fabio Vieira, we can’t be playing with 10 men.


This Vieria will come great , steak and gym work needed. He probably looks great in training when no one tackles hard


Tell me something new! There is no light at the end of the tunnel with Vieira ever. Too paperweight, too plastic! Not good enough for being used even in training because no team in the EPL has such such a nondescript player on their roster.


He just needs more time in the gym to bulk up and adjust to the physicality of the Premier League.

His skill on the ball alone is enough for us to keep faith in him.

Why not treat yourself to viewing that ‘Nondescript’ curler he scored earlier in the season?


With that body Vieira needs the skills set of D Silva or Marez . That’s what MA thinks he’s bought , but as of now he’s just a Lucas Torreira playing in advanced midfield without tenacity, application and passion. Who know if he’ll ever come good, but that’s enough of trying for this season.


He may still play an important part this season.

But, as I said, the long term plan between now and August needs to be putting some muscle on and adding some power to his game.

Look at Trossard. Five foot diddly squat, but a strong muscular little powerhouse, who is bossed by no one – that’s the physicality Vieira should be aiming for.


Y’all are bold in your ignorance. Too bold.


Elephant in the room: the title Challenge is over. Now the players can go to a deep sleep until next semester. We will Challenge again for the title in 20 years?


Bore off you negative ninny. That’s me being nice


Debbie Downer


We are the biggesy bunch of bottle jobs.
We bottled it in 2016 when we led Leicester in February and really should have gone on to win the title.
We bottled it in 2019 when we had two relatively easy routes into the Champions League and ended up blowing both in a big way
And then we bottled it again last year when we lost 3 fuckin games in a row when it mattered the most.
And now we have done it again.

Bleeding Gums Murphy

Easy up fickle fran, if we come second to the best team in Europe that is some improvement. Glass half full and all that.


The fear is that would really be the standard of the team, and the only standard to expect from it. ManCity will upgrade. Remember! And Arsenal is unlikely to buy 5 or 6 thorough breed players that are needed to catch up instanta! Partey, Xhaka positions require immediate upgrade.

Bleeding Gums Murphy

Don’t fret and project. That’s what the pundits say, the others will all improve as if we won’t. We will buy rice or caciedo and one or two others. Our fantastic young team will have another wonderful experience. We will be better next season


We drawn not lost , did you even watch


Miss read your post soz

Keep it Real

Nothing is over until it is over so have a little faith! We are all desperate to win it, no-one more so than the players, but that does not mean we have a right.
Why don’t you sit back and enjoy the ride and be thankful that at long last we are once again involved going into the last few weeks of the season – these guys deserve admiration for the efforts they continue to make so get on board the supporters bus and stop over reacting for effect.


Thought Arteta was the solution!


Mind you don’t melt in front of the fire.

James gunner

After winning 7 matches in a row,it was too much to make it 10
Maybe Arsenal can beat MC .A loss wil be the end of the dream.
I think the players are tired and MA must find a way to get the winning run on again


Arteta’s built an outstanding team over the past couple of years (the squad depth issue aside which is clearly still a work in progress), and has given me some incredible memories this season. But as much love as I have for the man, for us to have any hope of coming away with a result against City, he’ll have to do the one thing that I feel he’s still yet to prove- arguably something he’s not achieved since the fa cup run in his very first season. Adapt his tactics for the personnel he has available. All of our most… Read more »

A Different George

Of course, we don’t know if a lot of these things were looked at in training and rejected. I would have liked to see Trossard rather than Vieira in place of Xhaka, but I don’t know how Trossard really looks there and what that does to the way we play. I do remember that many supporters thought Arteta was wasting Martinelli, maybe even out of personal hostility. But yesterday I saw the best left-winger in England.


Things rejected in training may be looked at again when the first option goes terribly wrong. I trust MA realised that he got the wrong team selection.


Still rather discombobulated after my north bank lower experience last night. What a fucking mad game.
Looking forward to winning 3 points at City on Wednesday to get back on track 😬 COYG


I am as disappointed as the next one. But on reflection as I think back on this season, I cannot help but feel proud of this team and our manager. We have project under Arteta where we all knew it was going to take a few years to accomplish the goals we have as a club. Our first task was to remove the players that did not fit in to this project and that was a challenge in itself. Then we had to identify and bring in the players that would fit seamlessly into Arteta’s project – again easier said… Read more »


Here’s what needs to happen now… The first-team squad should get together for an informal meeting at the home of one of the players. No manager; no coaches; just the players. This meeting needs to be absolutely brutal: players not doing their jobs need to be called out. Everybody needs to be open and completely honest. Truths need to be bluntly stated. If anyone gets offended then that’s tough. At the end of this meeting the players must declare to each other that they are not going to throw this away and will do everything they can to turn this… Read more »

Bleeding Gums Murphy

Remember in all or nothing when the photographer made his pre match speech. I think you can do it fats before city game. Would be quality.


If I did I would just remind them of how good they were earlier in the season. The most crucial area that we need to improve in is defence: awful defending has hurt us so badly over the last few games. We just need to get back to doing the basics. We always score; we just need to stop conceding awful goals.

Bleeding Gums Murphy

Emphasising how important Saliba is to us. I believe if he didn’t get injured we would have more points on the board. Such a shame. But hey it’s been some ride hey.


Do you think that is the problem then?
Thinking about it you are absolutely correct – Arteta and his team of staff need to start coaching the team in things like defending, fitness and tactics.
I wonder why someone hasn’t just sat down with Mikel and explained this to him.


Well at least you’ve moved on from congratulating City on their title win.

That’s a start I suppose.

Heavenly Chapecoense

But you know such thing won’t end well. Xhaka will attempt to choke any young player who dares criticize his game.


Our players look up to Granit, Fatgooner’s imaginary meeting will take place at Granits home. They were lost without him.


He says it was a very emotional game himself. Yet when Titi(someone who’s been there and done it many times) says the team are too emotional and they need to remove that element from their game Arteta says “it’s just an opinion”. What a waste


Thierry Henry always seems to have something negative to say about the team or the players. The only time he and Bergkamp came out of the woodwork was when the Spotify guy tapped them up to front his pathetic “takeover bid with no money”, and again when it looked like something good was possibly happening that couldn’t be ignored. It is just an opinion. I’d rather take notice of Wrighty and David Seaman, who’ve been supportive on every level all the time. The great “Titi” couldn’t even be bothered to turn out for preseason charity matches, he’d rather take his… Read more »


Fabio Vieira needs to out on loan. I don’t want to see him start at city.


Xhaka is key player, hopefully we will see him against City, otherwise will be very dificult!

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