Wednesday, May 22, 2024

“Two very, very poor goals” – Arteta reacts to draw with Fulham

Mikel Arteta was disappointed with his side’s sloppy defending as Arsenal gave up a hard-fought advantage to draw 2-2 late on with 10-man Fulham at Emirates Stadium.

Andreas Pereira got the visitors off to a flying start, scoring inside a minute after a defensive mix-up. But the Gunners fought back after the break thanks to an excellent cameo by substitute Fabio Vieira.

The Portugal under-21 international won a penalty that Bukayo Saka converted and then produced a fine cross for fellow sub Eddie Nketiah to finish first time. That should have been enough to see Arsenal take all three points but three minutes before full time, Joao Palhinha pounced on a corner to equalise.

Facing the media after the game, Arteta said: “Obviously in the first minute you make the mistake that we’ve made and you just give a goal to the opponent and the game becomes much more difficult.

“The reaction straight after that, even the first half, the amount of situations, chances that we generated, we didn’t give anything away. We controlled the game for full periods but we didn’t score the goal.

“On the second half we made some changes, the dynamic changed, we had better relationships. I think the subs made a huge difference, a great impact. I loved the determination and the confidence that they brought to the team.

“We did the most difficult thing, to go 2-1 up. And then you have to defend the ball with your life and you cannot concede that goal after everything that we’ve done because we should have scored five, six, seven.”

For the third game in a row, Arsenal started without centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes, this time lining up with Jakub Kiwior at left-back – replacing the suspended Takehiro Tomiyasu – with William Salib and Ben White in the middle and Thomas Partey at right-back.

While that alone wasn’t the reason for the clunky performance, Arteta was very defensive when it was suggested his team are struggling for fluidity.

“If I compare the game we played against Fulham this season and last season, we were 10 times better than last season. At least 10,” he retorted.

“We were much better than last season. 10 times at least much better than last season. Last season we won 2-1 in the last minute, today we drew 2-2.”

He also denied a run of conceding early in home games is starting to play on the minds of his players.

“I haven’t seen that. I don’t see that afterwards. The way the team plays, the way the team generates [chances], in any other sport you win by I don’t know how many hundred points difference, but this is football. We draw and we conceded two very, very poor goals today and that’s the reason why. In the Premier League when you give something, you’re going to get punished, and we were today,” he concluded.

As already alluded to, if there was a positive, it was the impact of Arsenal’s substitutes. Vieira, who struggled for game time in the Premier League during the second half of last season, looked desperate to make an impact, and richly deserved the recognition he got from the terraces for his efforts.

“With Fabio, [I’m] delighted for him as well because he hasn’t played any minutes so far this season. And to see a player that comes with that determination and that positiveness to the team and has the impact that he has, it’s difficult. I’m really pleased and happy for him as well.”

There were also warm words for Nketiah who scored his second goal of the season having been dropped to the bench, somewhat harshly.

“He looks a real threat at the moment,” said Arteta. “He’s in a good moment. I think he’s full of confidence and I saw it straight away when I told him he was coming in the second half. The fire in the eyes and he’s got an eye for goal and the way he finished the action it was top.”

Manchester United are the next test on the horizon. The Red Devils visit Emirates Stadium next Sunday in what’s sure to be a tense encounter before the first Interlull of the season.2 fu

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Ebuka Nwaokeke

Stop exaggerating Arteta


10 times better than last season? This is absurd. Just take resposibility. Not accepting your mistake is a bigger mistake.


10 times more frustrating


Very rare these when managers admit their own mistakes. He’s attempted to change the style we play and it isn’t working. He’s tinkered with player roles and it’s not working. He’s shoehorning new players into the team and it’s not working. We looked more in control, when had a familiar shape to last season.


We need more clarity as to why Gabriel ain’t playing?


Gab not playing is a major concern, a guy who played all of our games last season with a 7+ performances is now benched ? wtf.. either we are nursing him through a small injury or the probability he’s being sold as it doesn’t make sense to drop a player who with Saliba has been our most successful CB partnership for years..


Wouldn’t have put him on from the bench during the first two matches if he was nursing an injury. Also easy to defect questions on Gabriel if injured.

I worry that a potential sale could be happening, Arteta certainly showing the owners why it shouldn’t happen. And losing a Centre back of his quality would put us an injury away from disaster.


It seems quite clear that against smaller teams who sit back Mikel feels we will have more chances if we can get more players in midfield and forward. This means playing a back 3 in possession, but those 3 still need to be good quality on the ball so we can progress it up the pitch. Gabriel for all his qualities is not a great ball playing defender.


I think he’s incorrectly aping Peps methods. I think MA feels that the way to improve us from last year is to add unpredictability. Not bad in theory but where I think it’s wrong is that we never perfected the plan A. Pep can do it for a few reasons. He’s had most of his players longer and has already won with several different plan As. It’s like when you get really good at a certain task at your job which allows you to address other areas or get creative with them when the other stuff is so dialed you… Read more »


Pep doesn’t really change that many things anyways. He changes one players role according to the opponent or whatever.. Arteta is trying to re-invent football and every position on the field.


True, I also think Pep is on his own island when it comes to looking at patterns of play and where to exploit teams. Not many managers have that ability. The difference is when Pep tries something new he KNOWS it will work and 9/10 times it does. I agree, I think MA bites off more than he or the players can chew.


Pep has the best players in every position that makes his tinkering work

Shivam Nigam


Teryima Adi

And that in itself is his tragic flaw at the moment.

Alan Sunderland

I think maybe rice timber and havertz were a package deal all meant to start, the idea being to match up with and beat Manchester city. It doesn’t seem to work too effectively against a team that gets men behind the ball.


Two poor goals and a very poor manager. Bring back Gabriel!!!


Saliba and Gabriel, it isn’t rocket science.


I would upvote this a million times if I could.


Gabriel would have made no difference for both the goals we conceded. Raya on the other hand would. With Raya we win 2-0. Hopefully, Arteta saw that.

Luzhny-jerk reaction

You could see how Partey vacated the space a traditional right back would have taken up and looked to drift into midfield, then half-heatedly jogged back to “chase” his man. Had Gabriel been playing the left-sided center half role, Saliba would have taken up the right side, and White at RB. Saka would have presumably felt now comfortable with that set-up and perhaps would not have blindly played an admittedly poor ball back. On the second goal you can’t possibly tell me Gabriel wouldn’t have made a difference. His bread and butter is defending (and attacking) corners and set plays,… Read more »


I wouldn’t be surprised if Raya starts against United. One more error of judgement like Ramsdale’s on the first goal and he almost certainly will be. I’m not saying that’s right or wrong (who cares what I think) but Raya was brought in to be used, and Arteta and Caña will be keeping their eyes open for a reason to use him.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

It does seem like an opportune time to hit a mini-reset. I can see Raya, Gabriel, and Jesus all start next weekend.

That being said, Ramsdale’s positioning may have been off but I do think Pereira’s finish was completely intentional.


How can you drop Eddie after such effective displays? He can score.


Guys, you can downvote as much as you want. Gabriel in CB changes nothing. Regarding the two goals we conceded the CBs were nowhere near them. On the contrary, Ramsdale was out of position for both. These are the facts. I also like Ramsdale as a person but he is just not as good as the top keepers of the league. Do you actually think Ramsdale is as good as Seaman or Lemmann were? Ludicrous.


Sure, and not unreasonable, but keep in mind that even if Gabriel stays for the remainder of his contract, he could get injured at any time. For our own sanity, we should probably get away from the (somewhat facile) idea that without Gabriel, our whole team goes to shit.


Defences must be organised and ours isn’t. He may get injured, but the only injury he could possibly get at the moment is a cramped arse. If he is fit then get him in the team.


Even if Gabriel were injured (he isn’t) our back four yesterday should have been Zinchenko, Kiwior, Saliba and White. It’s not purely the absence of Gabriel that makes our defence go to shit, it’s the absence of a proper defensive structure.


2 fu too

Gervinho is Driving

Chelsea’s new shirt sponsor. I believe they’re a Malaysian real estate concern


Boleh , bang


STOP playing Havertz is all


Play our first choice defence and concede fewer very, very poor goals.


Hoping for a great match next week, I’ll bei at the Emirates with 30 Vienna Gooners.

Guns Up



Lucky bastards!

Peter Cechs helmet

He should just take the blame and start afresh.
It’s obvious to everyone he’s made a bollox of this and he must know it.


A right dogs dinner


Be honest and humble Mikel or go away. You are not the Special One and everybody can make mistakes. This one is one you I think.


Having a hard time convincing my 14yr old son to trust the process despite 71% possession translating into a 2:2 draw, AT HOME


I’ve always maintained this.. Arteta is a wonderful team builder, culture setter, and standard setter..but when it comes to tactics and man management, I think he has a lot to learn still.

Guns Up

I think he’s actually quite good at all of the above, personally, but that doesn’t mean he’s infallible. And I do have faith in his willingness and ability to improve. That said, I don’t understand or agree with some of his decisions, and the Gabriel situation above all is baffling to me. Whether he’s right and the rest of us are wrong, or vice versa, breaking up the best CB pairing in the league from last season seems an unwarranted risk.


I’m really not enjoying Arsenal this season. Third game in and third game we struggle, and this is against theoretically weaker teams. Yes we may have a higher % of possesion but there’s very little end product, which is little wonder when we keep playing sideways and seem more interested in wanting to walk the ball into the net. Arteta has no doubt a lot of credit but I wonder if the pressure is getting to him and he’s trying too hard. We went 2-1 against 10 men and his first change was a defensive one, which i found baffling.… Read more »


“There’s very little end product, which is little wonder when we keep playing sideways and seem more interested in wanting to walk the ball into the net.”
That seems more like talking in old Arsenal clichés than anything to do with this game, we had a ton of chances and the ball was moving from goal to goal all game long, how does a lack of end product or passing sideways come into it?


First half we had very few chances, then we had the penalty and we scored playing against 10, exploiting a gaping hole left by the Fulham defense. We had plenty possession but i dont remember clear cut chances, a couple of half chances maybe but they also had those, with a lot less possesion We may have had a few chances in the last few minutes but that was more out of desperation rather than football. Same story against Nottingham Forest and against Crystal Palace. When we went down to 10 against CP we gave up playing and started to… Read more »


We scored before they went down to 10 men, and had a ton of chances before and after and were *definitely* not passing sideways. Doesn’t seem like you watched the game at all.


Nope, I watched the game from start to finish, but we clearly have different opinions, which is fine, that’s why we are on this board.

You are right in the fact that we did score when still 11v11 except they had a player down, the one that opened the hole in their defense and also voided any chance of offside.

We had 18 shots on goal, only 9 of them on target, that includes the 2 goals, to me that doesn’t read like a ton of chances, much less clear cut goal opportunities


18 shots is a fair bit and there were many, many near-shots where the player (often Havertz, at the end Kiwior) just missed the ball or didn’t get a shot off from positions where it wouldve been nearly impossible to miss, those don’t even count as shots but they’re very much clear cut chances. Sorry mate, I’ve seen many many games where Arsenal were passing it sideways, this wasn’t one of them, and the likes and dislikes aren’t going to make it so. We had problems defending and finishing in this game, not creating.


At 11-10 I was expecting that we kill the game off but we ended up defending and very poor at that. Kai Havertz seem to be a poor investment. We are lacking a clinical finisher


Sorry but this is on you, Arteta. Its madness to put Partey on rb. As shown on the first goal, the rb was totally exposed as partey inverted up to the midfield. There’s no overlapping in both wings.. that saka/white partnership that worked so well last season is completely non existent now. Put back Big Gaby in. We missed his aerial duel, both in defence and attack… Really pissed poor we are letting go of Tierney. Could do alot of overlapping with Martinelli on the left. Havertz…. I dunno where to start but him in the starting lineup made all… Read more »


Another sucker punch at the start of the game, stupid is as stupid does comes to mind..


This one’s on you Mikel, sorry. Half of the players are out of their position. All of our deffence is shifted backwards. Why play Partey at right back, why? Start Gabriel, and everybody else take their strongest position. Experimenting with one player, okay, but with half of them is too much. Don’t over do it. We needed some little tweaks from last season, not a complete new system, if this mess can be called a system. Oh, and…which position does Havertz play at?


So I can safely bet on arsenal conceding a goal in the first 5 minutes at home?


Two very poor goals – and one very poor manager.

Bleeding Gums Murphy

Arteta very nearly died on the hill of Willian, I hope he don’t make same mistake with havertz. That’s 3 games and his link up play has been below average. He’s like a passenger. How he starts over smith Rowe is a mystery only Arteta can tell us.


And the problem is that having invested all that money in fees and wages, Arteta is under pressure to keep playing Havertz.

I fear that in the future when we look back at the Arteta years, the opinion will be that they were the years of frustration and disappointment. We should have won the title last year, and now he is destroying all the good work of last season by tinkering with the defence and signing rubbish like Havertz.

I hope I’m wrong.

Man Manny

Many fans are blaming the starting lineup, but I don’t think so. On the balance of play, we had enough chances to win that game. My only frustration is this irritating attitude of retreating to defend slender leads, and today against 10 men! That has to stop. I expect us to go on the front foot in search of the third goal; that would surely have unsettled Fulham. Rather, they kept pushing men forward and were duly rewarded for their courage. It is good the disappointment is coming early in the season: I expect Arteta to revert to our traditional… Read more »


Yes I think it’s more to do with our attitude than personnel. We were absolutely fine up until we took the lead. Why suddenly let the have the ball as soon as we scored the second?? Yes it’s physically tough but that’s why we’re allowed 5 subs.

He’s got no hair but we don’t care...

Your poor selection caused that.
Tell us the truth about why you’re not playing one of the best central defensive partnerships in Europe?


I do agree that Havertz was at best an unnecessary signing but our main problem ain’t him. We create chances and we score goals. Our problem is that we concede more than we should. Looks like a defensive problem but is it really? We didn’t let teams create a lot of chances which means that our defense was good, however we conceded way more than we should have done. Specifically: Forest had 2 shots on target and scored 1. Palace 2 shots on target scored 0. Fulham 3 shots on target and scored 2. That’s bad. This is either just… Read more »


2 poor goals, poor team selection, defensive substitution against 10 men, inability to kill teams off, Havertz was a pointless signing and should have spent the money on a striker. Cocky team when on top but slight change and they’re still bottle jobs

Cranky Colin

Well Mikel.. poor defensive issues will happen if you complicate the back four setup


Zinny gives the ball away again to set up their goal scoring corner – then our rubbish defending ( you absolutely need to be first to the ball ( why not Gabriel for the last 10-15 mins ) ????- )
Zinny Same give away late at palace but luckily they didn’t convert the turnover
Zinny needs to eliminate the turn over – he’s a bit too cavalier these days


Zenny – many good things added to the team when he plays but poor pass selection and execution resulting in a few high risk and meh benefit decisions. Keep it simple when your behind is exposed. For the 1st goal, very poor pass selection. No outside back and your goalie is exposed. Two stupid goals. Emperor’s new clothes.


He knows he’s untouchable and undroppable because Arteta is getting rid of the only proper left back we have. No wonder he’s cavalier.


Imagine the scenes had that overhead bicycle kick went in from Viera. He should be rewarded for his performance and start next game ahead of Kai


Viera should start the next game ahead of Kai. He is so talented and hungry.

Solomon Grover

2 poor goals owed to manager choices. Rice should be interpreting the hunk as laxidasical. No need for early nerves and no silly early goal from Saka playing into a RB that shouldn’t be there and is drifting to where he should be, a CB dreaming of the hunks non existent sister.. and a goalkeeper with a slanted‐view hunk inferiority. Shambolically comical and shameful. Saka knows he being hounded early and no one is picking up on it. Should be sorting that out at the handshake. The word team implies others. Doesn’t excuse the players on the pitch that shouldn’t… Read more »


Arterta turning into Tinkerman will cost us top 4 this season. Stick with what works until its broken not break it for fun. If he continues like this we could be mid table by December and blaming Timbers injury for a lacklustre season. Instead of Havertz we should have got cover for Saka


Have not enjoyed the first few games of the season – playing Party at right-back is not working as he just reverts to playing in the midfield and we lose the Saka-White link-up that was working so well last season. Gabriel’s absence is a complete mystery and why does Ramsdale need to be constantly miles away from his goal line? The biggest mystery, however, is Kai Havert. Why on earth have we a) bought him and b) paid £65 million for him? I could understand if he were someone who we saw potential in and we picked up on the… Read more »

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