EPL

Mikel Arteta doesn’t see Arsenal’s celebrations affecting title challenge

By Sports Desk February 09, 2024

Mikel Arteta has refuted claims that any perceived over-celebrating does not mean his Arsenal side lack the maturity to challenge for the Premier League title.

Arsenal were widely criticised for their post-match reaction to beating Liverpool 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium last Sunday to close within two points of Jurgen Klopp’s side at the top of the table.

Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher told captain Martin Odegaard to “just get down the tunnel” as he took pictures with the club photographer’s camera, while Gary Neville said it showed “a little bit of immaturity”.

Arteta, though, was assistant manager to Pep Guardiola for the first two of Manchester City’s title wins under the Spaniard and said he never saw a hint that celebrating any wins would have an impact come the end of a season.

“If I think when I have won Premier Leagues somewhere else, the answer would be: ‘big no’,” he said.

“My experience says no but maybe someone says ‘my experience, yes.’ Mine says no because I have seen how to celebrate.”

Arteta claimed he had not even been aware of any negativity aimed at Arsenal in the aftermath of Sunday’s win.

“They (the club’s communications department) told me today so I didn’t know anything about it,” he added.

“But I love it. I’ve seen managers at the Emirates, away (at other stadiums) on their knees inside the pitch. I’ve seen very big managers going across the touchline in the Premier League.

“Personally, I love it because it brings such a passion and emotion to the game when it’s done in a natural and unique way. I think it’s great but it’s my opinion and other people may think something different.

“What I’ve heard in the last five days it’s all positive. Do you want to hear the negative part or the very positive part? I think it was a lot of positives and hardly any criticism.

“If you focus on the criticism then you only see that, depending on your perspective. I think it was a positive reaction from our people, from other managers I got so many texts.

“Every time I walk in the street it’s lots of pride and a lot of compliments to the team for what they did. I don’t have that impression at all.”

Arsenal travel to face West Ham on Sunday having lost twice to the Hammers already this season as Arteta looks to get the better of his former Everton boss David Moyes.

“He’s a really competitive manager that understands really well how to get an edge in the game,” he said.

“He does it in a really good way. He knows when to wait for the moments in the game to punish you. When you see what he’s done at West Ham it’s incredible.”

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