Monday, April 22, 2024

“We lacked threat” – Mikel Arteta reacts to late defeat at Porto

Porto will head to Emirates Stadium in three weeks with a slender advantage after Galeno’s stoppage-time strike secured a 1-0 win over Arsenal.

Having come into the game in fine form, Mikel Arteta’s side couldn’t find a way past a stubborn opponent, failing to have a single shot on target despite dominating possession.

The Gunners could, and should, have settled for a draw but their eagerness to launch a counter-attack at the end of the game backfired when the hosts stole the ball and Galeno curled past Raya.

Here’s what Mikel Arteta had to say when he faced the TNT Sports cameras after the game…

On what he’s said to his players…

Obviously that we have to manage much better when you cannot win. The way we handled the ball on three occasions in deep areas is not good enough. And then it’s half-time. If you want to win the quarter-finals, you have to beat your opponent. And this is what we have to do at the Emirates now.

On what was lacking tonight…

We lacked threat, we lacked much more threat, more aggression [was needed] especially when we had the ball in the final third, especially in the back as well, more purpose to help them. So we will tweak a few things to attack better especially because to be fair we haven’t conceded [chances] at all but we can do better.

On whether Porto made it hard or if his players weren’t at it…

It’s a team that is very well organised defensively and they break your rhythm all the time. It was 35-37 fouls in the game, so allowing that as well is not good enough. And there are certain things that we will have to do much better. We’ll play at home, we know now, we know them and we know what to expect.

On not making the most of set piece opportunities…

First of all, we couldn’t even touch anybody because everything was a free kick. But as well, we will learn from that, prepare better and go and do it.

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It’s becoming a pattern. Not prepared for European ties.


Getting a lot of downvotes instead of arguments against. Olympiacos, Villarreal, Sporting, and now Porto. He’s an excellent domestic manager, but if you’re not deeply worried, you aren’t paying attention.

Guns Up

I don’t think your comment really warrants any response, hence the simpler downvotes, but do go into further detail on what Porto did for which we looked unprepared. Maybe then people can respond accordingly. For what it’s worth, my opinion is we didn’t play well in the attacking third, Porto bought cheap (dirty) fouls whenever they were pressed into a loss of possession (and on their defensive corners), and they scored an unfortunate goal out of nothing. Preparedness had little or nothing to do with it.


I mean going into a game against them not expecting to have them dive with every breeze and not adjusting to that as you eat 20+ soft fouls over 90 minutes is the epitome of being unprepared? Adopting a hyper-cautious approach against and then doing very little to stop their one attacking threat is as well. Running the same corner routine that is getting blown for a foul every time is a lack of preparation in its lack of an alternative. I’m a big fan of Arteta in general, but he has to wear this – he’s repeatedly set the… Read more »


The ball was in play for 50minutes. The opponent was allowed to systematically dive.The ref was incompetent. Had we drawn the game I would have considered it a good result. As it was, someone scored a goal they’ll never score again. We’ve all paid attention to Arteta. Preparation is literally his thing.


It is – but he keeps trying the same thing in Europe to awful results. Again, *it’s not a secret how Porto play.* We played into their game like we’d never heard of them.


An underwhelming performance for sure but I think ‘not prepared’ is the farthest possible thing from what we were. While we were way too unthreatening, we showed impressive poise and control at a difficult stadium and if it ended up 0-0, as it easily could have and very nearly did, no one would have said such a performance evinced unpreparedness. If anything we were maybe *overprepared*; too tactical, lacking a degree of spontaneity.


Impressive poise and control? In this match? Where we pinged the ball off of each other all night? We went back to having lifeless possession, sure, but they had all the chances and should’ve beat us 2-0. I’m receptive to your over preparation argument without fully buying it though.


I want to be critical of the players but it honestly felt like porto’s game plan included ref being so strict and dare I say partial. I have seen worse fouls then rice not getting yellow in 1st 15 minutes.


Or maybe Porto had just done a better job of the pre match ref assessment …..any contact..fall over, roll around & you’ll get a free kick.


That’s what they do anyway, a decent ref would’ve stopped it straight away. That yellow for Havertz was ludicrous, as were many of those free kicks for nothing. The early yellow for Rice would’ve been unsettling for the team. The management and players are used to the Premier League and it’s a huge adjustment for them, they’re young, they’re learning, they gave it everything and it just wasn’t working tonight. Hopefully they can put it right at the Emirates.


But they didn’t adjust at all. In open play where the routinely gave away cheap fouls to dives and in the corners where they did nothing to shake up a routine that was being whistled every time. This wasn’t unforeseeable, and waving it off as novel isn’t good enough for a team and manager that are as good as ours. This was a failure that needs addressing, not excusing. I trust they’ll do so.

The Arsenal

First 15 seconds more like. Knew the ref was a knob from then.

William Nilliam

Very disappointing performance tonight, but we should be able to turn it around in London.


I haven’t seen the game or highlights yet, but if we lacked threat surely a sub or two could have helped?


That’s the one criticism I have of Arteta tonight. Even if we drew this game, which is an OK result away from home, why he didn’t bring on a few subs to try to change the game a bit is beyond me. Martinelli should have been replaced as he was well below par today and continuously lost possession. Why can’t we give Smith Rowe some minutes?

The Arsenal

Don’t think he wanted to tempt fate but Trossard was so bad he had to take him off and he made the safest sub he could and we still lost……Fucking football.


A lot to learn. Onwards and upwards.


Let’s hope we get Jesus, Zinky and TP fully back before leg 2. We certainly can put this Porto thing to bed in the first 45 minutes at the Emirates.


TP won’t be fit in time, but a healthy Jesus in Champions League form could do wonders for us, could easily see him scoring one and setting another one up to win it

Cranky Colin

Cedric is the Defensive backup!
We need luck to get thro this period.
Oh, and thanks Japan


Naive from us at the end. Better refereeing at home will help.

Al M

Every time Arteta tries to get clever and play slow possession football it’s a mess. These players do not suit it. Pace pace and more pace ! We got what we deserved


We lacked threat and you didn’t do anything about it Arteta 🤬


“And there are certain things that we will have to do much better. We’ll play at home, we know now, we know them and we know what to expect.”

that’s him basically talkling about the diving without openly talking about it right?

Santi’s Phonebox

Yup. They beat us the only way they could, diving bastards.

He’s got no hair but we don’t care...

Playing an unchanged team for 3 games in a row was always a risk and highlights that squad depth needs improving.

Santi’s Phonebox

Availability needs to be improved, we have too many players in the training room who are frequent flyers. Jorginho and ESR were really only two legitimate subs on the bench for this game.


He summer it up perfectly in terms of what we lacked: threat and aggression. This has been a bit common to the European knockout games: too cagey, too tentative, maybe overthought. We really need to go for the jugular a bit in these ties when we’re clearly the better side on paper/in terms of the vast financial resources available to us, because a jammy goal after a controlling performance without scoring can fuck up all your plans. I’m not hugely concerned per the poster above. One Champions League (or 7 if you really want to include the Europa League, but… Read more »

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