Mikel Arteta

Arteta reacts to Arsenal draw
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Arteta: Arsenal played well but equalizer was ‘unacceptable’

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Two big mistakes cost Arsenal a win and then a man against shorthanded Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Speaking after the 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park, Mikel Arteta said can deal with one but not the other.

The Gunners switched off for Jordan Ayew‘s equalizer, and goal scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was sent off by VAR for an ugly challenge.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

That means Arsenal took just two points from Palace this season, and remains a point behind the ninth-place Eagles.

From Football.London:

“We conceded a goal where we switched off completely and it’s unacceptable, I am upset with that, but after that we reacted very well after conceding goal and after Auba’s red card, we were the team that I expected because everyone was at it again.”

There was some luck involved in the ball finding its way over the line, but the haphazard effort in its own third is pretty familiar to Arsenal supporters.

It stings, because Arsenal should’ve been up a few goals by that point and was arguably the better team once down a man.

That happened via a reckless challenge by Aubameyang, which was a yellow card until VAR got a close look.

“I think the first 35 minutes were exactly what I want our Arsenal team to play like. We were at it, we were very dominant, we controlled the game, we were in the right positions and we were so good in transition.”

Lucas Torreira was also injured in the draw, and Arteta implied that it could be a significant one.

Premier League Preview: Crystal Palace v. Arsenal

Premier League preview Crystal Palace v Arsenal
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Arsenal looks to keep a third-straight clean sheet when it visits Wilfried Zaha and Crystal Palace on Saturday (Watch Live at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The Gunners’ improved form meets an Eagles side with plenty of absences, as Andros Townsend and Jeff Schlupp remain injured and Luka Milivojevic is suspended.

Palace may include new loan signing Cenk Tosun.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Palace has found points in 14 of 21 matches this season, including a 2-2 draw with the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium. It should be noted that the Eagles benefited from a wildly controversial VAR decision that deprived Sokratis Papastathopoulos a match-winning goal.

Tenth-place Arsenal is a point back of Palace, nine points off the Top Four.


Injuries/suspensions

Crystal Palace: OUT —  Andros Townsend, Jeff Schlupp, Joel Ward, Luka Milivojevic, Christian Benteke, Scott Dann, Patrick Van Aanholt, Mamadou Sakho. QUESTIONABLE — Wilfried Zaha.

Arsenal: OUT — Kieran Tierney, Calum Chambers, Hector Bellerin. QUESTIONABLE — Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang


Probable lineups

Crystal Palace: Guaita, Riedewald, Kouyate, Tomkins, Kelly, Kirby, McCarthy, McArthur, Zaha, Ayew, Tosun.

Arsenal: Leno, Kolasinac, Luiz, Mustafi, Maitland-Niles, Torreira, Xhaka, Ozil, Pepe, Lacazette, Martinelli.


What they’re saying

Palace’s Roy Hodgson on the season’s expectations: “Well, I guess with the incredible number of injuries, we are perhaps exceeding them, and I am more than happy with our current situation and where we are. But the only relevance is what the table looks like in May. We have a lot of games to play. It is pleasant to go into games in a comfortable position, but we know how quickly that can change. It is the performance that counts and we have to give the type of performance necessary to get results. If we are a better team than Arsenal, as perhaps the table suggests at the moment, we have to go out and prove it by going and beating Arsenal tomorrow.”

Mesut Ozil on new manager and former teammate Mikel Arteta: “Every manager is different and obviously I have had some world class managers throughout my career. Mikel Arteta is different to the others but he is very focused on the ball and wants to make us very successful and I think he is the right man at this club. … Time flies quite quickly and I remember when he went to work with Pep Guardiola at Man City, it was quite obvious he would become a manager soon. I am really happy that he is here with us at the moment because this is the right time. We are all happy to have him here.”


Prediction

Home field is a huge advantage for Palace, but the injury list is so long that it’s difficult to believe in the Eagles’ chances to pull out a win. Arsenal, 2-0

FA Cup Preview: Arsenal v. Leeds United

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Mikael Arteta and Marcelo Bielsa will square off for the first time as Arsenal host Leeds United at Emirates Stadium on Monday in the third round of the FA Cup.

 [ LIVE: Follow all the FA Cup scores here ]

The Spaniard and the Gunners kicked off 2020 in grand fashion, edging Manchester United 2-0, but their debut in this year’s FA Cup doesn’t project to be a walk in the park. Leeds are currently the Championship’s top-of-the-table side, with only four losses to their name.

That said, there is a significant chance Bielsa – the man who Arteta’s teacher, Pep Guardiola, has referred to as the “best manager in the world” – will not focus on the tournament, and instead will double down on promotion. 


Injuries/suspensions

Arsenal: OUT — Calum Chambers, Kieran Tierney QUESTIONABLE — Dani Ceballos, Hector Bellerin, Gabriel Martinelli

Leeds: OUT — Pablo Hernandez, Adam Forshaw  QUESTIONABLE — Jamie Shackleton


Probable lineups

Arsenal: Martinez; Maitland-Niles, Mustafi, Holding, Saka; Willock, Guendouzi; Pepe, Ceballos, Nelson; Aubameyang​

Leeds: Meslier; Ayling, White, Cooper, Alioski; Phillips; Helder Costa, Gotts, Klich, Harrison; Bamford


What they’re saying

Arteta on Bielsa: “When you talk to players that had him as a coach, the words that they have for him are always positive.” 

Bielsa on the importance of playing against Arsenal: “Of course it is a big challenge for us. It is enough to see the players and the prestige and level they have. When people think that we are the favorite in one match, we don’t consider things like that, neither with the opposite, which is in this case. Every time we compete we trust in our resources and respect our opponent’s resources.We will always do this with the wish to impose our style and we will try to do this on Monday.”


Prediction

Arsenal will go for blood from the start and probably until the end, while Leeds day dreams about promotion. Arsenal, 3-1.

Luiz: Arsenal ‘going to do big things’ under Arteta

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David Luiz has proclaimed that Arsenal will “do big things in the future” now that Mikel Arteta has registered his first win, a 2-0 victory over Manchester United on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Solskjaer: Pogba “out for a few weeks” with ankle injury ]

Arsenal thoroughly outplayed the Red Devils in the first half before limping their two-goal advantage over the finish line in the second half. After the game, Luiz revealed the improved mood around the club since Arteta was appointed nearly two weeks ago  — quotes from the BBC:

“We were great in the first half and showed a maturity in the second. We have to be honest and admit physically we are not ready, but you have to show heart and this team is ready to change a lot of things. We showed that today and we are going to do big things in the future.

“Mikel Arteta is a great coach, he was a great player. I think he can improve every player. And in life when you are happy results can be different. If you work with happiness and believing what you are doing it is totally different. Our season started very bad, but things can change.”

As for Arteta, all of the credit for Wednesday’s result goes to two groups of people: the players and the fans.

“It feels great, incredible. I’m so happy and proud of the players and the performance they put in.

“It was much better in the first half than the second. Everything we planned to do worked really well. We had enough chances to put the game to bed much earlier. Physically the level dropped in the second half but the commitment and desire was terrific.

“Right from the start I could feel a different atmosphere. Thank you so much to the fans because we really need them. The players play so much better when they are behind us. Hopefully we gave them something to be proud of today.

“I try to help the players as much as possible and give them the right structure to feel comfortable. But they have to deliver and I’m so happy they are doing that at the moment. The performances are getting better so I was desperate for the win and we got it.”

Pepe, Arsenal impress in dispatching haggard Man Utd

Pepe drives Arteta to first Arsenal win
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Arsenal gave Mikel Arteta his first win and it came against an age-old rival.

The Gunners controlled Manchester United 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday, riding an eye-opening show from Nicolas Pepe in the process.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Pepe and Sokratis Papastathopoulos scored the goals as Arsenal moves 10th on 27 points. The Gunners are nine points back of the Top Four.

United whiffs in a bid to move within a win of fourth-place Chelsea, and remains fifth with 31 points.


Three things we learned

1. Arteta overwhelms injury-hit United midfield: The Red Devils midfield isn’t a league-winner at full strength, and not having Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay is a problem. The depth behind them is just not there, or too green. Nemanja Matic and Fred were easy starters, but Jesse Lingard‘s rough time continues and Andreas Pereira has been inconsistent.

Mikel Arteta knew this and was able to start Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, and Nicolas Pepe. It was less of a risk than usual because of the opposition. It became even less so given another fine showing from Granit Xhaka.

United should go shopping even if Pogba plans on staying, given Matic’s age. Both Matic and Fred were decent in a poor effort for United. Maybe Juan Mata was the play, as his cameo was okay.

2. Pepe embraces rare start, demanding more: Nicolas Pepe has been much more effective for Arsenal as a Premier League starter than a sub, and his first league start since Dec. 15 was right on the money. His first half: Goal, 25-of-25 passes, hit post, whipped-in corner that became 2nd goal, three dribbles, two aerials won, one tackle. 2-0 Arsenal. He was still subbed off in the 62nd minute, so, okay. He must be the worst training player on Earth, or hide everyone’s car keys.

To borrow Pep Guardiola‘s favorite phrase modifier, he was so, so good. And there’s room for more, as he’s a shade off when it comes to following his instincts in the final third. That’s something Mikel Arteta will have seen fine-tuned with Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus at Manchester City.

3. Rashford runs out of steam: If we’re going to relentlessly praise Marcus Rashford‘s arrival, and deservedly so, we need to note when United’s key piece doesn’t quite have it. It’s understandable given the minutes and magnitude of contribution asked, but he won just one of nine first half duels. He didn’t get a shot on target during the frame and passed at less than 70 percent.

Man of the Match: Pepe only played the first hour, so we’ll give a nod to beleaguered goal scorer Sokratis Papastathopoulos. The ex-Borussia Dortmund man was the standout performer of a back four which seems to have a simplified plan under Arteta.


A bad Ainsley Maitland-Niles giveaway threatened to open up Arsenal, but Jesse Lingard didn’t handle the opportunity well.

Pepe put Arsenal ahead when Sead Kolasinac‘s cutback was deflected into his path. A clever adjustment later and the ball was in the back of the goal.

Aubameyang couldn’t side volley a Pepe cross home moments later.

The Gunners were all over the Red Devils, and Pepe slipped Lacazette into the box for the Frenchman to torch Harry Maguire but fire wide.

Pepe then curled an 18-yard shot off the far post.

The Gunners got a deserved second in the 43rd as De Gea saved Lacazette’s flick of Pepe’s corner, but Sokratis was at the ready to punch in the rebound.

Harry Maguire headed a free kick to Bernd Leno on the final play of the first half.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

United’s second half was improved at the outset, with Fred stinging Leno’s palms with a shot in the 55th but still no real threat on goal.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer removed Daniel James and Jesse Lingard for Mason Greenwood and Andreas Pereira in the 58th minute.

Matic set up Pereira for a shot in the 59th, but the Brazilian smashed into the outside of the goal.

Leno beat Rashford to Juan Mata’s cross in stoppage time to keep the clean sheet.