It has been an extraordinary week in the history of European football.
Facing the media after the suspension of the proposed Super League, Mikel Arteta was asked all about it.
This is what our manager said:
on when he found out we were signed up to the Super League…
I found out just a little bit before the news was leaked. Then everything was completely out of control and the world reacted in a really unified manner. I didn’t really have time to think about it, reflect, evaluate or anything because by the time it was out, a big tsunami already came on to it and basically killed it.
on who from our board has spoken to him…
Vinai spoke to me and explained a little bit what was happening, the process just before that was announced, and he was very clear and transparent with me. I understand the reasons why we could not know. Obviously we were not involved in the decision and we understand the logic of it.
on whether anyone has apologised to him and the players…
Yes. Starting from Vinai, the ownership and everybody that is involved in the process. All of them, with the right intentions to defend the club and put the club in the best possible position for now and for the future, but accepting that the way it’s been handled has had terrible consequences and that it was a mistake. I really have to respect that when people have genuine intentions to do the best for this football club. But if it doesn’t happen or not the right thing to do, they can stand up here and apologise. I’m speaking for myself and I think the players, staff, everybody working at the club, we have to accept that and move on. The way it’s been handled has been really good internally.
on whether there was any communication from the Kroenkes…
Yes, I had some communication from them as well. I spoke with them yesterday and those communications were in the same terms. As always, every time we need something and every time something is happening, they are straight away ready to act, to give the answers they can do, to give us the support they can do. They’ve done it again.
on whether the Kroenkes apologised…
Yes, absolutely. Obviously they have the maximum responsibility of running the football club and this is what they said. They apologised for disturbing the team, not having the capacity or ability to communicate in a different way earlier and explain the reasons why. They wanted me to pass on the message to the players. That’s all you can ask for. The way they’ve done it, I have to accept it completely.
on if there is now mistrust between the fans and the club…
This has given a big lesson and it shows the importance of football in the world. It shows that the soul of this sport belongs to the fans and that’s it. During this pandemic for a year, we’ve been trying to sustain this industry with no fans in the stadium but when the fans have to come out and talk they’ve talked really loud and clear. They’ve sent probably the strongest message that has ever been sent in the football world. Every club leaving their interest apart have done the right thing, which is, they [the fans] are the ones [we have to listen to]. We have to listen to them. We put it out and within 24 hours they killed the project. That’s a massive statement in the history of football.
on if the big six could have any argument against facing sanctions…
I don’t know the legal details to respond to that question. Obviously, when you act and you make the decision, there are always consequences but I don’t know the extent of those consequences. I think here we have to understand the principal and the reasons why those clubs were trying to achieve something but if it wasn’t done in the right way then there are always consequences and we’re going to have to accept any there.
on why Arsenal thought it would be a good idea to join the Super League…
Well, I don’t know. I know the people who work in the organisation, first of all they are very caring for the interests of the football club. Secondly, they are very intelligent and professional people, so I am sure that they had the right reasons to start something but it clearly didn’t work, or it wasn’t the right time, or it wasn’t done in the right way or it was time to step back. It says a lot about the people who are involved in those decisions, again to undo something straight away and to show the importance to the people that are really important in this industry, which is the fans, and [they’re] the reason why we are all sitting here.
on if the Super League will eventually happen in a different form…
Football will evolve for sure, like any other sport and like any other aspect in this life. Like technology and the way that we interact with each other, there is a lot of things that are going to change in the next few years. What I’m hoping is that everything is constructive, protecting the wellbeing of football. The competition has to be the priority and the passion has to be the priority. Afterwards, the rest will take care of itself. I think if it’s done all the time with the right reasons and unifying interests I think very important achievements can be done. It will depend, I think now everything is damaged and everybody has to be working. We have a responsibility sitting here and you guys there to again rebuild that trust and put football back in the right place so we can move forward. The world is looking at us and we have a lot to say.
on how he thinks trust can be built with the Arsenal fans…
Well, I can talk with my experience since I was a player, a captain and now a manager. We have always had great communication and full support from the ownership. That goes down to every member of the football club and I think the most important way to show it is that in the most challenging period of the football club, during this pandemic, the way we have done things and the things that we have reached out as a club and the commitment every single person at the club has shown in difficult moments. Not just to be there, but when they had to help the club, we were there. That makes me really proud. The fans have to express, that is their right and they have to do it freely. For me, what it shows is the power and the capacity when they show that determination and passion to achieve what they want. If we can use this with our fans to support the team, I think that will be incredibly powerful and it will make us much, much stronger. So it’s time to leave them to express themselves and now, somehow, we have to engage them again, get them closer to us and believing in what we do. If we do that, we’ll be in a much better place.
on how important it is to not pick up any more injuries tomorrow…
I want to win the game! Then, hopefully, that will come as well. But I don’t even want to think about it. We had so many injuries in recent weeks that put the team in a difficult position but the other players are reacting well, the team is performing well and let’s go and win. That is the best medicine, always, for everything that happens: win football matches.
on whether he agreed with joining the Super League…
I didn’t know anything about it. I was informed during the last few months that there were some conversations, but I didn’t have any detail to evaluate or have an opinion on it. Obviously, before I could start to read and understand what was happening, the project was dead already.
on the concept and if he agrees with it…
I don’t understand the concept yet and how that concept evolves and how that concept allows other participants to join, how this is shared and what the merit is behind it. I didn’t have the information.
on it being a ‘closed’ competition with guaranteed membership…
I think the competition and the ability to participate has to be earned and that has to be earned on the pitch. I will always believe and defend that.
on the club’s apology showing communication with the fans needs to be improved…
In a club like Arsenal and in football in general. We have to understand them. As I said before, I don’t want to repeat myself but this has shown the importance of the fans in world football and that they are the soul of this sport.
on the impact on the squad…
I don’t know, we tried to speak to them and we had a conversation with them. Vinai spoke in front of all of them and explained what happened, so hopefully they are in a good place. It was a big shock for all of them at first to go through, a lot to read and a lot of opinions and a lot to digest. But it’s not an excuse. We have a game tomorrow and this is the most important thing. Let’s go and beat Everton.
on whether he saw Chelsea fans protesting outside Stamford Bridge…
Again, people and fans are free to express their feelings, and if they decide to do it that way, we have to respect that and we have to listen to them. World football listened to them and that’s why they made the decision afterwards to withdraw from the project.
on whether defeat on Friday makes the Europa League our last chance for European qualification…
I think mathematically it’s possible and we will give it a go knowing that it doesn’t depend on us.
on whether he was worried about how fans would react to the news…
It didn’t give me much time to be worried because I saw the reaction straight away, so it wasn’t just what will be my perception. It was loud and clear that no one was having it, so I think by the time it came out, it was already dead.
on whether he’s spoken to Pep Guardiola about it…
I was going to, but again, by the time that was happening, it didn’t even give us time because we knew what was happening. It was clear that we were going to get out of it and it wasn’t necessary.
on whether he agrees with Pep that it ‘wouldn’t be sport’….
Well, the main reason why we are here is because we have the uncertainty of winning or losing, and we can dream. We can dream about winning against anybody, earning the possibility to be in a better place, and as well, the risk of being in a worse place, and that’s what keeps everybody alive.
on whether he worried about Arsenal being competitive in a Super League…
It’s depending on what the details were behind it. What resources we were going to have, what was the timing of it, depending on many, many aspects, so it’s difficult to answer that.
on whether he feels let down by the owners…
No, I feel very supported by everybody at the club. I feel privileged, again, and I will say it loud and clear, again, the way we have dealt with this pandemic internally with all the issues that we had in recent months, there have been loads and unprecedented for this football club, internally and externally, I still see everybody coming here with a smile on their faces and proud to represent this football club. This for me is a big achievement and something I’m really proud about because everybody is contributing to that, from the top to the bottom of the club.
on when he first spoke to the players about it…
They’re free to express themselves. Obviously we were involved in the process, so you have to respect that when you don’t do that, people are going to have different opinions with information that they can read or guess, and that was the case. Hector made a post and he was free to do it and express his opinion.
on whether he hopes his players won’t be distracted…
Well, I will try to prepare the team in the best possible way so that isn’t the case. We know that we might have a situation outside the stadium because our fans want to express their feelings, and our job is to try to make the team as focused as possible to perform on the pitch.
📺 Miquel Azeez is Simply Outstanding, Watch As He Nutmegs 3 Defenders To Score A Goal
Miquel Azeez Has Been Outstanding For Arsenal Un23 side this season, he continues his great run of form yesterday as score a man of the match goal to hand Arsenal Un23 side a victory in the final game of the season.
📺 Watch The Great Goal…
Arsenal to agree deal with Italian head-coach
Maurizio Sarri could reportedly be in line for a surprise return to Premier League with either Arsenal or Tottenham.
The Italian tactician has been out of work since being given the boot by the Serie A giants Juventus last August – in spite of guiding the Old Lady to their 36th Scudetto.
Sarri is understood to be eager to get back in the dugout next term, with Italian journalist Carlo Laudisa stating the 62-year-old could very well return to the English top-flight.
During an appearance on Radio Punto Nuovo, the Gazzetta dello Sport journalist said: “Sarri could go to England.
“The Tottenham solution being the most plausible, but the Arsenal bench could also become free, as [Mikel] Arteta has missed all the Gunners’ season goals.”
Carlo’s claim that Maurizio could return to England comes in spite of reports the veteran coach is against the idea of resuming his career abroad.
The former Napoli leader is reportedly concerned about upping sticks during the COVID-19 pandemic in case he is unable to return to his homeland.
He enjoyed success during his sole campaign in charge of Chelsea, guiding the Blues to UEFA Europa League glory with a 4-1 win over Arsenal in Baku.
If Sarri is indeed open to managing the Gunners, he’ll no doubt be keeping tabs on developments at the club over the coming weeks.
Video Highlights, Full Match Analysis: Chelsea 0 – 1 Arsenal
Emile Smith Rowe denied Chelsea the chance to cement their top-four status as he took advantage of Jorginho’s howler to give Arsenal a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues would have all but secured their Champions League qualification with a victory which would have taken them 10 points clear of Liverpool, who have four games left to play, but after making seven changes ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final, struggled to create clear-cut chances.
Kai Havertz should have put them ahead 10 minutes in when he intercepted Gabriel’s loose pass for Pablo Mari and raced clean through, but then fired over Bernd Leno’s bar with only his compatriot to beat. Moments later Jorginho’s equally poor back-pass was kept out by Kepa Arrizabalaga at full stretch, but Smith Rowe was on hand to bundle home after being teed up by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Chelsea were dominant for the large majority of the remaining 75 minutes without forcing Leno into any uncomfortable saves until the final minute. They did beat him through Pulisic’s close-range header from a corner, which was swiftly denied by a VAR review, before the German produced a stunning stop to tip Kurt Zouma’s header onto the crossbar, which was then rattled by Olivier Giroud’s shot on the rebound.
Chelsea: Kepa (6), James (6), Azpilicueta (6), Silva (6), Zouma (6), Chilwell (5), Jorginho (4), Gilmour (5), Pulisic (5), Mount (6), Havertz (5).
Subs: Hudson-Odoi (6), Giroud (6), Ziyech (5).
Arsenal: Leno (7), Gabriel (6), Mari (7), Holding (6), Tierney (7), Partey (6), Elneny (8), Saka (5), Odegaard (6), Smith Rowe (7), Aubameyang (5).
Subs: Bellerin (6), Lacazette (5), Chambers (6).
Man of the match: Mohamed Elneny
What the managers said…
Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel told Sky Sports: “We had three days, we are on a good run, we had a good mood. The choices were not so good today from my side for the line-up so that’s on me. We were unlucky, of course. But we did everything today to lose.
“I’m not happy with my line-up. It’s easy to say afterwards. But it was too many changes, I should not have done it like this. It’s something in particular – but I will not tell you!”
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta told Sky Sports: “I don’t know how they’re going to try from the outside but from the inside, nothing is broken.
“They’re going to put things on me that I never said, you can see the spirit of the team from the first minute. You can never doubt their efforts and how much they try.”
- Arsenal completed their first Premier League double over Chelsea since the 2003-04 season, while this was their first league win at Stamford Bridge since October 2011, ending an eight-game winless run there (D2 L6).
- Chelsea suffered only their third defeat in 26 matches in all competitions under Thomas Tuchel (W17 D6), with all three defeats coming at Stamford Bridge.
- Arsenal have won three consecutive away Premier League matches without conceding for the first time since May 2013 under Arsène Wenger.
- Arsenal have had a different player aged younger than 21 score in each of their last three Premier League matches against Chelsea – Gabriel Martinelli in January 2020, Bukayo Saka in December 2020 and Emile Smith Rowe tonight.
Chelsea are off to Wembley in the FA Cup final on Saturday, where they will face Leicester City; Kick-off at 5.15pm.
Arsenal’s penultimate game of the season is also in London, with a trip to Crystal Palace next Wednesday night; Kick-off at 7pm.
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