Arteta Defends Arsenal’s COVID-19 Postponement Request

File photo: Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta speaks to the media after the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Arsenal at St James’ Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on May 2, 2021. LEE SMITH / POOL / AFPta


Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has defended the club’s decision to apply for Sunday’s match with Tottenham to be postponed — a request that was granted by the Premier League but proved controversial.

The Gunners, who will host Liverpool in the second leg of the League Cup semi-final on Thursday, asked for last weekend’s game to be rescheduled with a number of players unavailable due to a mixture of international duty, injuries, suspension and coronavirus cases.

“We didn’t have the players necessary to put a squad out to compete in a Premier League match, that is 100 percent,” Arteta said at his pre-match press conference on Wednesday.

“This is a no-win situation. When we play the first three games of the season when other games were off, we were killed and called naive. Now we postpone a match for all the right reasons, believe me, and we get these reactions?”

Spurs reacted angrily to the decision to call off the north London derby.

“It’s the first time in my life — and I’ve had a bit of experience in football — to see postponed games because of injuries,” said Tottenham boss Antonio Conte.

But Arteta hit back, saying: “We have been very consistent. We played (Nottingham) Forest (in the FA Cup) when we had 10 players out.

READ ALSO: Still Time For Hazard And Bale At Real Madrid, Says Ancelotti

“It got to a point where we could not put a squad out, that is why we didn’t play. As simple as that.”

The Arsenal v Liverpool match at the Emirates Stadium should have been the first leg of the League Cup semi-final two weeks ago, before a coronavirus outbreak within the Liverpool camp led to its postponement.

Arsenal held Liverpool to a goalless draw in the first leg last week despite playing more than an hour with 10 men after the dismissal of Granit Xhaka.

In his own press conference, Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders said he had no complaints over recent Covid postponements both in the Premier League and the League Cup.

The Dutchman said it was impossible for anyone outside a club to know the full picture.

“It’s really difficult to judge from outside,” said Lijnders, who himself tested positive earlier this month during an outbreak at Liverpool.

“We saw this with our own situation.

“I fully respect the submissions because I trust 100 percent the medical departments of each Premier League club. I think this is the most important thing, full trust in these decisions.”

Arteta Tells Arsenal Players To Keep Their Cool

Arsenal’s Spanish head coach Mikel Arteta shouts instructions to his players from the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Sheffield United at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 18, 2020. Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP


Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says his players must learn to control their emotions after they reacted angrily following an injury to goalkeeper Bernd Leno in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat by Brighton.

Neal Maupay scored a late winner to give relegation-threatened Albion a vital three points and condemn Arsenal to their second defeat since the Premier League restart, leaving Arteta’s side languishing in 10th and 11 points off the Champions League places.

Maupay was surrounded by Arsenal players on the final whistle — Leno had pointed at him as he was stretchered off the pitch in the first half after appearing to suffer a serious knee injury following a clash with the forward.

Midfielder Matteo Guendouzi had to be pulled away after placing his hands around his fellow Frenchman’s throat.

Maupay said the Arsenal players should learn about “humility” but Arteta disagreed with that remark, saying his young squad needed to show cooler heads.

“When we show frustration we have to show it in the right way,” said Arteta.

“I haven’t seen the images (of Guendouzi) or what happened, but we will talk about it if that is the case. Emotionally, we have to control the situations much better.”

Veteran Brazil international David Luiz was sent off in Arsenal’s defeat at Manchester City on Wednesday, and Arteta said his side had shown their inexperience in letting their lead slip at Brighton.

Nicolas Pepe gave them the lead midway through the second half with a sublime strike but Lewis Dunk equalised and Maupay grabbed the winner deep into injury time.

“I think every game is completely different,” said Arteta.

“When I was talking about competing, there are details when you go ahead and game management-wise where we have to improve a lot.

“But we are a very young squad. I don’t want to use it as an excuse because it is still a football game and it doesn’t matter at what age you are competing, but at this level you can’t do it.”

The win for Brighton lifted them five points away from the drop zone with eight matches remaining.


Wenger’s Departure Leaves One Less Star In The Sky – Dein

FILE COPY Arsenal’s French Manager, Arsene Wenger. Credit: Adrian Dennis / AFP


Arsene Wenger’s decision to leave Arsenal after over two decades in charge is like a “star has dropped out of the sky” claimed the man who appointed him to the job David Dein.

Dein, who stepped down as club vice-chairman in 2007, told Sky Sports on Monday Wenger’s legacy would not just be confined to the historic club but to world football as well.

“He will undoubtedly go down in history as the greatest Arsenal manager ever,” said Dein.

“His style of football, the way he has conducted himself, his honesty, integrity, the way he handles players, the way he is concerned with youth development — what he has done for the club is immeasurable.

“It’s not just for Arsenal. His legacy is for global football.”

The 68-year-old Frenchman guided the Gunners to three Premier League titles — two of those domestic doubles (1998/2002) whilst the third and last in 2004 was the ‘Invincibles’ team who went thourgh the league season unbeaten — and a record seven FA Cups.

However, growing unease amongst the supporters at a lack of a title challenge — they will miss out on Champions League football for a second successive season if they don’t win the Europa League — appeared to force him finally to leave, a year before his present contract runs out.

Dein, whose plucking the then unknown Wenger from Japanese outfit Nagoya Grampus Eight in 1996 proved one of the most inspirational moves in British football history, said fans should appreciate that without the ‘Invincibles’ season they would not be enjoying the state of the art facilities at the Emirates Stadium.

“When you go to the stadium today and you see that magnificent singing and dancing stadium, you have to say ‘thank you Arsene Wenger’, because we managed to get it through because of the team’s achievement,” said Dein.

“He has absolutely revolutionised the club. It was ‘boring, boring Arsenal’ at one stage. Now we’re playing pretty football.

“He is a football purist, so that is one of his legacies, and always year-on-year making a profit. He’s very astute; he can read a balance sheet.

“He is honourable, honest and an extremely reliable guy. The shareholders have probably tripled or quadrupled under Arsene Wenger and they should thank him.”

Dein also said he had been contacted by unnamed clubs on Sunday as to whether Wenger would still be interested in coaching.

“I personally had calls from various people yesterday, saying, ‘can I speak to him?’.

“The question is does he want to do it anymore?

“He’s going to be 69 in October but he’s extraordinarily fit. He is the same weight as when I met him – 75 kilos.

“He’s got a very active mind and such a knowledge of the game.”


Wenger Admits Top Four Finish Not Easy

Arsenal Wenger Admits Top Four Finish Not EasyArsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger, has admitted that it will be difficult to finish top four in the English Premier League this season.

Following a two-all draw with Manchester City at the Emirates over the weekend, Wenger said the task is “not as easy as it looks”.

The Frenchman has led the Gunners to a top-four spot and the UEFA Champions League qualification for the past 20 seasons.

However, Arsenal are currently in sixth place, seven points off the Premier League’s leading quartet with 10 games left.

Misconduct: Arsene Wenger Gets 4-Match Touchline Ban

Misconduct: Wenger Gets 4-Match Touchline BanArsenal manager Arsene Wenger, has been given a four-match touchline ban and £25,000 fine after accepting an English Football Association charge of misconduct for his behaviour in the win over Burnley.

Wenger was charged with verbally abusing and pushing fourth official Anthony Taylor after being sent off.

It was alleged that in or around the 92nd minute, he used abusive and/or insulting words towards the fourth official.

It was further alleged that following his dismissal from the technical area, his behaviour in remaining in the tunnel area and making physical contact with the fourth official amounted to improper conduct.

The Arsenal manager admitted the charge and requested a personal hearing which took place before an Independent Regulatory Commission on Friday.

The club has decided it will not be appealing the decision.

The 67-year-old misses Saturday’s FA Cup tie against Southampton and Premier League games against Watford, Chelsea and Hull.

He will be back for the Premier League trip to Liverpool on March 4.

Wengers’ Opinion On Manipulation Of Loan Markets

Arsene Wenger, loan marketsArsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, has stressed the need to address the way football clubs manipulate loan markets to stockpile talents.

The Frenchman also told the club’s website that short-term deals were essential part of a player’s education.

Wenger, who currently has 13 players out on loan, believed that the manipulation of loan markets was one of the major challenges in modern football.

“It is one of the big problems in the modern game. You’ve invested a lot of money into players because we’re paying more and more money, and then at the age of 20 you don’t usually get much for any of the players.

“So the reflex is to stockpile the players. That’s not right. When you look at the number of loans that happen here and there, the whole system has to be thought about again because we have two kinds of solution in there.

“The first is to continue developing players, the second step is just to make sure your investment is safe, and that’s not the right way to think about it but it’s the natural reflex for the clubs,” the Gunners manager said on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Premier League leaders, Chelsea currently have about 40 players on loan to other clubs.

The Blues have come under criticism for exploiting loan rules, by snapping up youngsters from various clubs before immediately sending them out to gain experience.

Klopp, Son Named Manager, Player Of The Month

Jurgen Klopp,Heung-Min Son, Liverpool, TottenhamLiverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has been named Premier League manager of the month.

The 49-year-old becomes the first German winner of the award after three straight wins over Leicester City, Chelsea and Hull, scoring 11 goals in the process.

He beat off competition from Manchester City boss, Pep Guardiola, Crystal Palace Manager, Alan Pardew, Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino and Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger to secure the award.

Tottenham’s Heung-Min Son was also named Premier League player of the month.

The 24-year-old becomes the first Asian player to claim the prize after scoring four goals and adding two assists in four matches.

Romelu Lukaku, Theo Walcott, Adam Lallana and Kevin De bruyne were the other contenders for the award.

EFL Cup: Bendtner Has A Point To Prove – Wenger

Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, Nicklas Bendtner, EFL Cup, Nottingham ForestArsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger accepts Nicklas Bendtner will have a point to prove, and says his side will be wary of the threat he poses in Tuesday night’s EFL Cup clash at Nottingham Forest.

The Denmark international spent nine years at Arsenal and Wenger said that the former Gunner is quite different to public perceptions of him.

“It was a surprise to me that Nicklas signed for Nottingham Forest, but at some stage he needs to restart his career,” the manager said. “You have to adapt and we are in a job where we have to show we are able to put our effort in everywhere and compete.

“Sometimes when you are a player of his quality, you just need an opportunity. We know he is a top-quality player, but he needs to play.

Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, Nicklas Bendtner, EFL Cup, Nottingham Forest
Nicklas Bendtner while in Arsenal

“He was very young (when I first saw him), 16 or 17 years old and I thought he was very interesting because he has a good technique, good stature, good pace, good in the air, good link play – he had it all in the locker.

“He had good periods in his career, and then periods when it went less well for him. He could explain it better as to how he assesses his career because he is an honest guy.

“When he makes mistakes, he is big enough to say it is his fault. Sometimes it was not his fault but you felt he had it all in the locker to make a fantastic career.

“Yes, the perception people have of him is that he is overconfident, but I don’t think so. He was sometimes impatient when he was with us. Sometimes he was disappointed not to get the chance and you can understand that.

“It is difficult – I am not here to judge people. Sometimes you manage to get it, and sometimes we do not find the key. Then you have to leave the key to someone else who has the potential to find it.

“Of course he has a point to prove. He’s playing at a level he is not used to. But he did start his career at this level at Birmingham City with Steve Bruce, where he did very well. Nicklas is humble enough and focused enough to show he can fight again.”

UCL: Barcelona, Bayern Harvest Goals As PSG, Arsenal Draw

Barcelona-MSNBarcelona and Bayern Munich went rampant with harvests of goals in front of their home fans on Tuesday night in the UEFA Champions League.

Lionel Messi’s hat-trick, a Luis Suarez brace and one goal each from Neymar and Andres Iniesta helped Barca defeat humiliate Celtic 7-0 at the Camp Nou.

Neymar also shipped in assists for four of the goals, becoming the first player to do so in a Champions League game since Zlatan Ibrahimovic in November 2012 for PSG.

In Germany, Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Mueller and Juan Bernat added a goal each to Joshua Kimmich’s brace as Bayern also trashed FC Rostov 5-0.

It was a record 13th Champions League home win in succession for Bayern.

In France, it took a hard-fought comeback for Arsenal to salvage a 1-1 draw with Paris Saint-Germain, as the home side missed several chances after going ahead.

Edinson Cavani headed the French side into the lead after only 42 seconds but missed several presentable opportunities to put the hosts further clear.

Arsenal had few sights of goal but Alexis Sanchez levelled matters with a powerful finish as time was running out.

Both sides finished with 10 men as Olivier Giroud and Marco Verratti were dismissed.

The Group C game between Manchester City and Borussia Moenchengladbach was postponed due to heavy rain at City’s Etihad Stadium.

All Tuesday night Results

Group A:
Basel 1-1 Ludogorets
PSG 1-1 Arsenal

Group B:
Benfica 1-1 Besiktas
Dynamo Kyiv 1-2 Napoli

Group C:
Barcelona 7-0 Celtic
Man City v Gladbach (called off)

Group D:
Bayern Munich 5-0 Rostov
PSV 0-1 Atletico

Arsenal, PSG Managers Ready For Champions League Duel

Arsenal, PSG, Champions League, Real Madrid, AtleticoArsenal manager, Arsene Wenger insists he has experienced players to prosecute the 2016/2017 UEFA Champions League as they prepare to face PSG in Tuesday night’s UEFA Champions League group phase.

Wenger compared his team to the PSG saying they had several similarities, he played down the French side’s injury problems saying it will not greatly hinder their performance.

Newly-appointed PSG coach, Unai Emery also expects the match against Arsenal to be a “great duel”.

For the last 16 years in succession PSG’s opponents Arsenal have reached the second stage of the competition, only to suffer the frustration of defeat in the first knockout round for six seasons in a row.

Therefore, Emery is expecting a tough challenge against Arsene Wenger’s experienced side.

Under Emery, PSG have had a difficult start to the season and were involved in late drama in their weekend game as St. Etienne scored in the final minute to force a 1-1 draw.

EPL: Arsenal Confirm Alex Iwobi’s Return

Arsenal, Alex Iwobi, Arsene WengerArsenal manager, Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Nigerian striker, Alex Iwobi is in line to feature in Saturday’s clash against Southampton at the Emirates.

“Iwobi is back in the squad. The only one who is not ready is Aaron Ramsey. He is on the good way, but not completely ready for Southampton or Tuesday,” Wenger said.

The attacking midfielder missed the Gunners last two games in the English top-flight and the 2017 AFCON qualifier against Tanzania after suffering a thigh injury on the opening day of the season.

The news is a big boost for Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, who is expected to announce his squad for the World Cup qualifier against Zambia in the next two weeks.

Wenger Hails Barcelona’s Exceptional Team

Arsene WengerArsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, has hailed ‘exceptional’ Barcelona and compared their play to art after the Gunners were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League at the Nou Camp.

The Spanish side clinched a 3-1 win to progress to the quarter-finals with 5-1 on aggregate on Wednesday night.

Wenger, who was pleased with his side’s overall performance, insisted that Arsenal had Luis Enrique’s side worried at 1-1.

“It was a team performance and the quality was good. I’m disappointed with the result but we played against a team with the best strikers I have seen play together,” Wenger said on Arsenal’s website.

He said that the La Liga giants were exceptional, stressing that they could make chances from nothing.

However, Wenger said that Arsenal could not take their chances to find a second goal that would put them in a strong position.

“After they scored and it was 2-1, our belief was less than when it was 1-1. We had chances and Barcelona was exceptional.