Arteta hails Arsenal's 'brotherhood' after resilient Anfield draw

By Sports Desk January 13, 2022

Mikel Arteta lauded the spirit of his Arsenal side after the Gunners battled to a goalless draw against Liverpool at Anfield.

Granit Xhaka was sent off midway through the first half in the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-final on Thursday, having lunged in high on Diogo Jota.

It is the fifth time Xhaka has been sent off since he made his Arsenal debut in 2016-17, more than any other Premier League player in that time.

Yet without key men Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, who are with Senegal and Egypt respectively at the Africa Cup of Nations, Liverpool faltered in front of goal and failed to make their numerical advantage count.

Curtis Jones' stoppage-time effort was the Reds' only shot on target, with that attempt coming after Aaron Ramsdale had gifted Takumi Minamino (who had six attempts in total) a golden chance, only for the Japan forward to blaze it high over a gaping goal.

Based on Opta's expected goals (xG) model, Minamino's chance was the second best opportunity of the match – an xG value of 0.384 (a 38.4 per cent likelihood of scoring) – though Bukayo Saka had the best sighting of goal when his close-range effort (0.402 xG) was smothered by Alisson.

 

Arsenal, who were without regulars Emile Smith Rowe, Martin Odegaard, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Thomas Partey, now head into next week's second leg on level pegging, with a place in the final against Chelsea on the line at Emirates Stadium.

"They showed great fight, determination, attitude, brotherhood," Arteta told Sky Sports.

"You could see the determination with which they were playing, they never gave up, it's extremely difficult in this situation against this opponent. Great credit to the boys.

"I don't know if it [the sending off] inspired them, but they certainly took the fight and I said to them before the game that you have to have a certain attitude to play in this ground, in difficult moments you have to act, you cannot be reactive because then it gets really complicated and I think the boys adapted really well in certain moments.

"We played the game that we had to play, not the game we wanted to play but the game we had to."

Arsenal performed well against Manchester City on New Year's Day, only to go down to Rodri's late winner in a game in which the Gunners were again reduced to 10 men – Gabriel Magalhaes sent off on that occasion. Since Arteta took charge in December 2019, his side have received 13 red cards in all competitions, five more than any other Premier League side in this period. 

The Gunners then slumped out of the FA Cup on Sunday, losing to Championship side Nottingham Forest 1-0, but Arteta suggested inconsistency was merely a symptom of a largely inexperienced side.

He said: "It's really difficult to explain, you see the performance against City where we probably deserved more, we played with 10 men then we play Forest and it was completely different.

"Today we got the level back and did what we had to do. It's an extremely young team, sometimes that inconsistency is going to happen."

Arsenal have now avoided defeat in four of their last eight away games in which they have been shown a red card in all competitions, though injuries to Bukayo Saka and Cedric Soares further complicated matters ahead of Sunday's north London derby clash with Tottenham.

"The motivation to play a derby brings the energy when you don’t have it, no excuses we're going to play the game now in the best possible way," Arteta added.

 

Related items

  • Galtier's switch to PSG 'good for everyone' says Nice president Galtier's switch to PSG 'good for everyone' says Nice president

    Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere harbours no ill-will towards Christophe Galtier, who he hopes the best for at Paris Saint-Germain.

    Galtier left Nice on June 27 and is expected to replace Mauricio Pochettino at PSG.

    The former Lille coach enjoyed a fine start to his single season in the south of France, with Nice flying high in Ligue 1 and embarking on a run to the Coupe de France final, beating PSG en route.

    However, Nice were unable to keep up their push for Champions League qualification and ultimately had to settle for fifth place, while they were defeated 1-0 by Nantes in the Coupe de France final in May. 

    Nevertheless, Rivere is happy that Galtier has the chance to coach a star-studded PSG team, and believes the impending move suits all parties.

    He told L'Equipe: "I am very happy that Christophe has the opportunity to coach PSG and I will always keep a watchful eye on him.

    "This alignment of the planets is good for everyone."

    Galtier did not reportedly see eye to eye with Nice sporting director Julien Fournier, and Rivere conceded there were issues at the club.

    "There were these tensions that should not have been expressed in the press," he added.

    "It may seem very confusing, but we analysed the situation calmly and I was able to explain my strategy to [INEOS director of sport] Dave [Brailsford].

    "Nice must project itself with an offensive style, from the training centre to the first team. The pleasure we had at one time has been lost over the last three years."

    Lucien Favre, who enjoyed success at Nice between 2016 and 2018, has been appointed as Galtier's successor.

  • 'Ready and focused' Rashford relishing full Man Utd pre-season 'Ready and focused' Rashford relishing full Man Utd pre-season

    Marcus Rashford believes enjoying a full pre-season will allow him to rediscover his form under new Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag, saying he is "ready and focused" ahead of the new Premier League season.

    Rashford endured a poor campaign in 2021-22, scoring just four goals in 25 league appearances as United finished sixth and posted their worst-ever Premier League points tally (58).

    Having only played 1,232 minutes of Premier League football, Rashford was left out of Gareth Southgate's England squad for June's Nations League fixtures.

    The Three Lions boss also claimed Rashford, as well as club team-mate Jadon Sancho, had "a lot to do" to make England's squad for the World Cup later this year after struggling on the domestic stage.

    But after featuring in England's Euro 2020 party last year and missing out on a full pre-season ahead of the Coronavirus-affected 2020-21 campaign, Rashford is relishing his time training under Ten Hag. 

    "I have definitely not had that much rest before in a summer break, so it was a little bit strange at first and I had to adjust my program a little bit, make it a little bit longer, so I could come in with a positive look on everything," he told the club's website.

    "We are excited to go away [on tour] now. You feel every day now you are getting that one step sharper and one step fitter to being ready for the season.

    "I don't think I have had a proper pre-season since 2019 so for me it is definitely a positive thing.

    "I feel like I probably needed that time to switch off a little bit and me having that time enabled me to refocus a lot earlier than I expected, to be honest. 

    "Like I say, I feel ready and focused so when that first game does come, it's good to know you have done almost six weeks of training beforehand. It will definitely be a positive."

    United endured a dire campaign last term as their major trophy drought was extended to five years, with caretaker boss Ralf Rangnick posting the worst points-per-game return (1.5) and win percentage (42 per cent) of any manager in the club's Premier League history.

    But with Ten Hag at the helm, Rashford says there is a newfound excitement among the United squad. 

    "We have got that feeling of excitement and that buzz around the training ground again and so it is definitely positive going into pre-season," he added.

    "It is just about, one, getting the principles right of how Erik wants us to play and the details, and two, enjoying it. 

    "In the first week of training we have done both and everyone is looking forward to going on the tour and putting what we have done in training into the first games.

    "It is a fresh start for everyone, and for me personally I have had quite a long break, a nice camp before coming back into training, and we are starting off on the right foot.

    "Like I said, everyone is looking forward to pre-season now and going out to try to put into the games what we have learned in training so far, and what we will continue to learn, not only in the pre-season but throughout the season as well."

    United will face the likes of Liverpool and Atletico Madrid in high-profile friendlies before beginning their Premier League season against Brighton and Hove Albion on August 7.

  • Liverpool one of the world's biggest clubs, claims Reds new boy Carvalho Liverpool one of the world's biggest clubs, claims Reds new boy Carvalho

    Fabio Carvalho believes he has joined potentially the biggest club in the world in Liverpool, having completed his move from Fulham.

    Liverpool announced they had agreed a deal to sign the Portugal youth international in May after failing to acquire him in a late deadline day swoop in January, though only unveiled him officially on Sunday.

    Carvalho scored 10 goals and recorded eight assists as Fulham won the Championship title last season, starring in a side that scored 106 league goals, becoming the first second-tier team to bring up a century of strikes since Manchester City reached 108 in 2001-02. 

    The 19-year-old is one of three new signings made by Liverpool during the off-season as they aim to build on last season's EFL Cup and FA Cup double, alongside striker Darwin Nunez and full-back Calvin Ramsey.

    After making his long-awaited move to Anfield official, Carvalho is aiming to achieve "big things" with Jurgen Klopp's side.

    "It's just an amazing feeling to be here at one of the biggest clubs in the world, if not the biggest. So, I'm just happy to be here, and I can't wait to get started," Carvalho told the club's official website.

    "Once you hear that Liverpool are interested, there's only one thought in your mind, which is to join them and try to be in the team. Hopefully I can achieve big things.

    "I spoke with everyone, and the manager, and it just felt so natural. When things become natural it's just so much easier to make a decision."

    Carvalho also believes his experience of playing in a free-scoring Fulham team will serve him well at Liverpool.

    "Marco Silva, the way he plays football and made us play football, is more like attacking football and getting goals, which is similar to how Liverpool play, which is to score goals and dominate games," he added.

    "That's what I'm here to do, to be able to help the team with my assists, creativity and goals. I'm looking forward to it."

    Carvalho could face his old club on his league debut for the Reds, as Liverpool travel to Craven Cottage for their Premier League opener on August 6.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.