Monday, July 22, 2024

Arteta on dropping Gabriel, officials apologising and team fluidity

In the second half of his pre-Fulham press conference, Mikel Arteta was asked about the officiating of Monday’s clash at Palace, how Gabriel Magalhaes has reacted to being out of the team and how his formations are likely to change to accommodate returning players and new opponents.

On whether he’s had contact from the PGMOL since Monday…

Yeah, we have the report but I would [like to] keep that confidential to myself.

On whether he gets irritated by apologies from officials …

I think every referee has the intention to have the best game and to try to be as fair as possible and make all the right decisions. We all make decisions and when we do, just apologising is the least that you can do and try to improve and be better.

On referees still being given games to officiate even after bad mistakes…

There is no other solution at the moment. When you have players, you have a certain amount of players, referees, they have a certain amount of referees, they will try to do the same and Howard [Webb] is trying to improve and change that and he’s trying various different ways to do it. He’s been very open about the process and what to expect on it and that’s it. We have to focus and my job is to focus on something else.

On whether Arsenal could potentially play with two inverted full-backs…

It depends. It depends where you have the ball, for how long you have the ball, in which areas, which other relationship you have, what type of opponent you play and what space they are going to give you, where they’re going to try to threaten you. Everything is possible. I don’t think that positions are defined by only certain qualities, and especially in modern football you see that a lot.

On Gabriel being on the bench and whether it’s difficult for him to understand…

Yeah, but we have to focus on what is ahead and what is now and how we’re going to evolve that and there will be different relationships. Gabi will play a lot of games, I’m sure and it’s about bringing the competition high and try to make the team play better, better, better and better and be more dominant and win more games. That’s the purpose of all of us.

On whether he’s explained to Gabriel why he’s not playing…

Yeah, especially someone that has played a lot of minutes and games with us in the last year. I don’t know if he understands but I told him. I think he understands the reason, whether he agrees or not, that’s something different. But the best way to do it is when you play, just tell me how blind I’m wrong, I am.

On whether he’s had to sacrifice fluidity to work on new ideas in recent weeks…

No, I want maximum fluidity with the team. The thing is that there are teams that want to allow you to have more fluidity in certain moments or areas, and results are very driving into that. And others that they’re going to allow you less. We played two, three very different games obviously, because the Manchester City game [in the Community Shield] was very different in terms of fluidity and then we had moments in games against Forest and Palace where we had a lot of moments and others that were very difficult when you’re attacking 10 men in those spaces. So fluidity is not probably the word that is going to come out like the best.

On approaching Champions League games more like the City game…

Yes, for sure. Every game is going to have different demands and is going to require different things from us, and that’s why we have top players to try to accommodate them in the right roles and spaces in relation to the game that we play.

On having quality players capable of playing different ways without losing their effectiveness…

Yeah, sure. We have many more options and we have many more options that they can, within the formation that we’re going to use, whether it’s attacking or defending, that they can connect with each other in the unit in the way that we want, much more than we had the year before.

On whether referees should be accountable for their bad decisions, missing games if they make mistakes…

I don’t really like the punishing mode, to try to make somebody react, because the mistakes are for sure not intentional, and we all make them, so I don’t think that’s, in my opinion, the solution.

On Arsenal’s hearty celebrations after the win at Palace…

We want to win every game, you know, and we have to fight every game to deserve to win. And we were over the line, you have to celebrate it, you know, and it’s about the culture that we are building. The demand here in this league is to win every game, that’s it. And you cannot be satisfied when you don’t.

On how his side will manage time in the closing stages of games if there is a risk of being cautioned…

It’s quite a lot of things that we have to manage because what about if a winger picks up the ball because he wants to play fast and then he can’t but then you decide to play a long throw so you need the opposite full-back to come across the pitch, get the towel and throw it. Can we do that?

On David Raya’s attitude to being on the bench…

He’s very good. He’s just arrived and he’s settling in really, really well and he’s building a really strong relationship with Aaron and I’m really happy with that.

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El Mintero

So, doesn’t sound like big gab understands or is happy to be on the bench. Don’t fkn blame him. Ridiculous decision.


You aren’t qualified to manage a premiere league club. If you were you’d be doing it. And you have about 10% of the information Arteta has, if that. And you don’t know what his plans are tactically or personnel-wise. Yet you say the decision is “ridiculous.” I get so tired of such silly and disrespectful statements. Do you have anything interesting to say?

Public Elneny

Please can we stop this notion that fans aren’t allowed to have an opinion that differs from club management, or that it is automatically wrong because we are not highly qualified and successful football managers? I’ve seen it a lot here lately

There are countless examples of highly talented, respected managers making awful decisions that run counter to fan opinion. At Arsenal and elsewhere

Sometimes I think a bit of distance can actually help to see the picture a bit clearer. And besides, what is even the point of discussing football if you can only ever parrot the party line?


“Ridiculous decision” is not someone just having an opinion. It’s a layman who has never been paid to do anything in football lambast a person who is seen as one of the best up and coming managers in the world because they have the benefit of criticizing after the fact when managers have to make decisions before the result. It’s not measured or respectful. It makes the commenter look like a clown.

El Mintero

What are you saying today then mate? Am I wrong?


Yes. Be measured in your criticism. You have no clue what Arteta is trying to achieve with his selection. There’s literally only one better team in the league than Arteta. So unless you’re Pep, you’re out of your league son.


Another armchair fan who thinks he knows better than one of the best upcoming young managers (endorsed by other greats like Pep, Wenger, Mourinho amongst others). How f*cking delusional can you be? This isn’t EA’s FIFA or Football Manager you clown.


You lost me when you added Moody Maureen to that venerable list!


I’m sure that Mourinho blames his squad for losing you.

Naked Cygan

It’s another fan with another opinion that you don’t agree with. We can all have different opinions. If we all thought the same way we would all be sleeping in caves and talking to bats.


Hyperbole isn’t opinion. It’s divisive and dumb.

Heavenly Chapecoense

What is strange is that you have upvotes.


Hope Edu has your resume on file. You sound overqualified to manage Arsenal.

The Beast

Who’s blamed Gabbi? Did we just read the same transcript?

Gervinho is Driving

These remarks on Gabriel sound like his other “you must show me how much you want it; he knows what he must do,” etc. about ESR and others. Kind of concerning: “I think he understands the reason, whether he agrees or not, that’s something different. But the best way to do it is when you play, just tell me how blind I’m wrong, I am.” Doesn’t sound tactical.


Does it have to be exclusively one or the other? Seems to me like there’s a mixture of factors here at play. If we play well when Gabriel does play, in that specific formation, then that goes a step further to proving to Arteta that that formation with that player is a good one. If he had dropped Gabriel purely because he thought he wasn’t good enough but there was no tactical consideration, surely he would’ve just kept the same formation and just replaced Gabriel?


Maybe I am too sensitive but he really sounded like there is something wrong between him and Gabriel. Any conflict or not, I hope they resolve it and play for the best of the team.


There’s an obvious tactical element, but I think he is also just trying to make the point that there is no such thing as an automatic starter. That’s also why Raya came in. I think there will be a time when Eddie starts over Jesus too.


You had me in the first half.


Sounds to me like he is testing combinations and unconventional tactics with the lineup, re: Gabriel


This is the sense I get as well. Knowing tougher matches with the other bigger clubs were coming, he used Forest and Palace as testing grounds. One thing that has plagued us in the past is that if enough of what were normally our subs were in the game or players were out of their standard positions, we lost our fluidity and style. I think he’s getting players ready for those types of periods so that we are prepared when it eventually happens for reasons beyond our control.


On paper we were handed 3 winnable games to start the season.

It would have been nice to come out and batter them all 6-0. But if experimenting now sets us up better for the season, I’ll take the hit on the goal difference.

This shits chess it ain’t chequers


I really like arteta’s handling of questions around refs. he doesn’t stir the pot and put an unnecessary target on his and the teams back. he’s respectful and empathetic of them and hopefully the referees pay it back by doing their jobs professionally and as best as they can – that’s all we can ask for.


But when a former referee, with an already hugely dubious reputation everywhere outside the media and Sky Sports studios, comes out and basically says he knowingly allowed a wrong decision and chose not to advise of such in-game – that is to say, to do the job with which he had been tasked – then frankly one wonders whether it is worth paying to watch football matches in the future. How many times did we see this happen last season? Brighton extracted apologies from PGMOL how many times? We had the ludicrous situation of the goal for Brentford where the… Read more »

Efosa Henry Sebastian

I get it that everyone will have their own opinion, many do not like it one bit, mine is that i’m personally very satisfied with Arteta’s decision thus far, he’s got it right most times as well, Gabriel play how many matches last season? Didn’t he play all of them? If he chooses to keep him on the bench for some matches this season especially at the start, and the team has not suffered any loss so far, it’s a win win for all involved. I’m sure Arteta doesn’t want him to suffer burn out or get injured as well… Read more »


Big Gab has been in quite a demand from the big teams and said no thank you (cue RM no less) lately. If there is some serious issue between him and MA, i believe he wouldn’t have been so emphatic about staying.
That MA statement about the situation sounds a wee bit suggestive of some discontent but let’s not blow it out of proportion. He probably just meant it as a general interaction between him and all players vis a vis tactical evolution.


The question shouldn’t be “What about Gabriel?”, but “Why do we need 4 out-and-out defenders when the opposition are putting 9 or 10 players behind the ball?”. I would like to see a switch to a more orthodox back line once we take the lead, though.

Hademe Precious

Gabby will never be happy sitting out and no reason is enough for that decision. Meanwhile,I want the club to go for Kudus before be put pen to paper for hammers. He will provide a healthy competition for Saka.

Stuart Hammon

I still think having gabby in there with white at RB is our best back line. Party at right back still confuses me tbh but two wins in two games can’t be sniffed at.


make the team play better, better, better and better”

There’s a lot of very unique things about Mikel Arteta but his use of language is definitely near the top of that list

Felicia Daniel

I really do want to ask why Mikel Artheta bought Kai Harvetz. Since he came things has not been well with the fluidity of Arsenal olay. He is too slow and he is slowing everything down for Arsenal. We are bot seeing the hot and rushy Arsenal we saw last year. This is really frustrating to watch

Clifford Adams

Both their opponents goals, were Poor goals.The whole team’s been doing ball watching in the dying minutes. One man standing free between them inside the penalty box, got it right to squeeze in the draw goal. Arsenal’s “Defence Coach” need to be sorted out.

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