EPL

Arteta ignoring Conte's 'favourites' tag

By Sports Desk April 04, 2022

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is not willing to be drawn into mind games with Tottenham counterpart Antonio Conte and is instead focused on getting the most out of his players.

Conte last week stated that Spurs would require "a miracle" to finish fourth place in the Premier League.

Tottenham increased the pressure on Arsenal by hammering Newcastle United 5-1 on Sunday to leapfrog their north London rivals into the final Champions League qualification spot.

However, the Gunners are only behind Tottenham on goal difference and have two games in hand, the first of those coming away at Crystal Palace on Monday.

Conte's comments were perceived as being psychological tactics ahead of a potentially tense run-in that will see the fierce rivals do battle in a rescheduled game.

But Arteta, who was named Manager of the Month for March, is only interested in deploying such tactics internally.

"I don't know if we are favourites [for the top four]," Arteta said. "That is a question for [Conte]. 

"But what we want to do is very clear and the perception of what people think is not going to change it."

When asked if he is a manager who wants to engage in mind games, Arteta replied: "I do it more with my players, I think.

"I do it more with the players, if I have to, to get what I want from them. I can't tell you how I do it because they will know what they are doing and that is the whole point!"

Arsenal have won six of their past seven games ahead of their trip to Palace, who are managed by Gunners midfield legend Patrick Vieira.

Arteta's side have won each of their past five away top-flight matches, which is their best run since a streak of eight in a row between March and September 2013.

That is a remarkable turnaround following their worst start to a Premier League campaign when losing their first three games, and Arteta is confident his young squad can maintain their form.

"There is nothing different; they have already been dealing with [the pressure] for weeks," he said. 

"This is a conversation we have had now for over six to eight weeks, so they have already been through that and have responded really, really well.

"There is nothing new because they have already been doing it and capable of doing it."

Arsenal have lost just one of their past 16 away league games against Palace (W8 D7), though that defeat did come in a Monday game back in April 2017 (3-0).

Related items

  • VAR is a Luton fan – Forest hit out at PGMOL after ‘poor decisions’ at Everton VAR is a Luton fan – Forest hit out at PGMOL after ‘poor decisions’ at Everton

    Nottingham Forest have accused VAR Stuart Attwell of being a Luton fan after feeling they were on the wrong end of “three extremely poor decisions” during Sunday’s 2-0 Premier League defeat at Everton.

    Forest posted on X, formerly Twitter, soon after full-time that they were considering their options, having “warned the PGMOL that the VAR is a Luton fan before the game but they didn’t change him”, adding that their patience had now been “tested multiple times” this season.

    The relegation-threatened midlands club were furious not to be awarded spot-kicks by Anthony Taylor for challenges on Giovanni Reyna and Callum Hudson-Odoi by Ashley Young, who in the meantime had looked fortunate to escape a handball decision, with Attwell backing the referee.

    Forest posted: “Three extremely poor decisions – three penalties not given – which we simply cannot accept.

    “We warned the PGMOL that the VAR is a Luton fan before the game, but they didn’t change him. Our patience has been tested multiple times.

    “NFFC will now consider its options.”

    All three incidents were waved away by referee Taylor, with VAR Attwell opting not to reverse any decision, suggesting with the handball that Young’s arm had been deemed to be in a natural position when it was hit by Hudson-Odoi’s shot.

    Forest head coach Nuno Espirito Santo backed the club’s statement in the main but played down the importance of Attwell’s allegiances.

    Asked whether he agreed with his club’s stance, he said: “Yes I share (the view) because I saw the images. You see it so clearly, you don’t understand why the decision was against us.

    “I honestly think the situation with Gio Reyna in the first half was a clear one and the handball, we can ask because if not, the ball goes to (Chris) Wood and there is an incident with Callum and Ashley Young.

    “I share the feeling of the club because it is not only this game, it has been a while for poor decisions against us. It is not an excuse but we are not comfortable with the referees.”

    Nuno stopped short of repeating the club’s suggestion Attwell’s appointment as VAR raised issues of impartiality, instead choosing to question the official’s inability to spot what he thought were three viable spot-kicks.

    “I am aware of the complaint that the club was not comfortable with the VAR but the PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited) decided another way,” he said.

    “It is not important if he is a fan of another club or not. The VAR is sitting down in a chair, they have time to assess the images.

    “I would just like to understand the why – why we have always been on the end of bad decisions.

    “It is a feeling of disappointment that we are always being punished and it is difficult to control the players with this feeling because they felt they worked hard and not got what they deserved.”

    Asked whether he thought it was appropriate for the club to complain about the appointment of officials before a match, the Forest boss said: “I prefer not to answer if it is appropriate.

    “It’s a feeling and trying to avoid what happened today and not raise any more suspicions or thoughts that no-one wants. It is about preventing.”

    It is not the first time Forest have been incensed with refereeing decisions, and as a result they appointed former official Mark Clattenburg as a consultant analyst to fight their corner.

    The PA news agency understands the Football Association is aware of the post and is investigating, and has contacted the PGMOL for comment.

    Amid the furore, Everton moved five points clear of the relegation zone after goals in either half for Idrissa Gueye and Dwight McNeil.

    The only downside to the day for the hosts was striker Beto being carried off after being knocked unconscious in a clash of heads.

    “He definitely came around and could understand what is going on, a good early sign,” Toffees boss Sean Dyche said.

    “It was fantastic how early the medical team came around, we hope for news over the next 24 to 48 hours.”

    The Everton manager was happy to have secured back-to-back home wins either side of Monday’s 6-0 humiliation at Chelsea.

    “It is very pleasing considering the madness of the current situation – two wins and two clean sheets in three games, sandwiched by a horrible performance,” he said.

    “The reaction was very important today.”

  • Philippe Clement says Rangers’ return to winning ways was ‘what I demanded’ Philippe Clement says Rangers’ return to winning ways was ‘what I demanded’

    Philippe Clement insists Rangers reacted as he expected after getting back to winning ways with a 2-0 Scottish Cup semi-final victory over Hearts at Hampden Park.

    The Light Blues went into the game with just two wins in eight in all competitions and on the back of a goalless draw against Dundee on Wednesday night which followed their first ever defeat by Ross County in their cinch Premiership encounter in Dingwall last Sunday.

    The Gers boss, who raised eyebrows by dropping regular centre-back Connor Goldson in a reshuffle, saw striker Cyriel Dessers score a goal in each half to set up a date with Celtic on May 25 – the first Old Firm final since 2002.

    “To say it’s pleasing it not a good word,” said Clement, who revealed attacker Abdallah Sima will be assessed in the next couple of days after going off early with an injury.

    “It’s what I expected. It’s what I demanded, it’s what I wanted.

    “It was what I knew I would get from the team, also. I was totally not pleased about the game after Ross County, with how we lost our structure and lost our normal football.

    “Against Dundee, we were too much in a rush to score a goal and today we found the right balance again, what we have been doing for a lot of months.

    “But it’s been challenging in the last couple of months with all the injuries and players in and out.

    “We have been lacking rhythm. But today, if you see the bench, it is stronger again and that’s going to be important in the next couple of weeks when it’s one game a week.

    “Before these cup semi-finals we were the only team that played during the week. It makes a different and you need to look at that if you have three games in seven or eight days.

    “With players coming out of injury you cannot let them play all the minutes. It’s been a puzzle around that but now, in this last part of the season, it’s going to be a challenge in the squad with players coming back.

    “Quality then rises in the training and quality rises in the game also because we have a strong bench.”

    Hearts boss Steven Naismith blamed “immaturity” for failing to make more of their attacking play.

    “Frustrated, disappointed with the outcome,” he said. “That is the overriding emotion.

    “We got off to a terrible start, we can’t lose cheap, early goal like we did.

    “But the reaction from then until the second goal was good.

    “I thought we controlled the ball a lot, created opportunities and what you see is our immaturity in the final third.

    “We had four or five really good situations and we either pick the wrong option, or the wrong pass or we don’t get the finish.

    “And these are moments when we must hit the target or make the goalkeeper make a save or score a goal.

    “That is the biggest frustration for me because we get good opportunities that we didn’t take and the goals we conceded were cheap.”

  • David Moyes ’embarrassed’ by display of his West Ham players at Crystal Palace David Moyes ’embarrassed’ by display of his West Ham players at Crystal Palace

    West Ham boss David Moyes declared he was “embarrassed to be speaking on behalf of the team” after the Hammers’ European ambitions were dealt a significant blow in their 5-2 thrashing at Crystal Palace.

    The visitors were already facing a 4-0 deficit 31 minutes after kick-off at Selhurst Park thanks to Michael Olise’s nodded opener and an audacious overhead Eberechi Eze effort as well as the first of two for Jean-Philippe Mateta and an Emerson own goal.

    Antonio clawed one back before the break and Moyes’ men could take no credit for their second, a late own goal credited to Dean Henderson, who turned in Tyrick Mitchell’s backpass one minute from time.

    Moyes, who shot back tersely when asked about his job security, was far more forthcoming when it came to his scathing assessment of the Irons’ performance, saying: “The first half was as bad as I’ve seen us play. We’ve had three or four of these incidents.

    “I don’t think the team in the three years I have been here have gone to the depths, in three or four games this year. The first half was unacceptable. We mainly were defending, the way we started the game, we’re not connected in the way we’ve played.

    “You can’t play this level of football in the Premier League. We didn’t compete. It was hard to actually explain it.

    “I’m so disappointed for the supporters who came here today and in truth I’m embarrassed to sit here and actually be speaking on behalf of the team and the way they performed today but I’m the manager.

    “I’ve got to say I’ve not had many teams who have played like that in my whole career.”

    Moyes refused to blame tired legs from Thursday’s 1-1 Europa League quarter-final second leg draw with Leverkusen as an “excuse”, though when pressed for a “reason” conceded the tight turnaround probably did not help.

    And while he was adamant Sunday’s defeat would have “nothing do do with” how he would approach potential contract negotiations, when asked if his side’s performance could take the choice of a continued tenure out of his hands, simply replied: “If it is then it is” then later refused to take further questions on the subject.

    With Sunday’s defeat, the Hammers’ chances of returning to Europe next season look improbable, though the boss said his side will keep fighting until their fate is sealed.

    He said: “We might still have a chance. Because we lost a couple of games doesn’t mean we don’t still have a chance. We still do have a chance. We’ll keep going, keep trying to do it.

    “We’re just off the back of three years in Europe and it now sounds as though you’re talking about West Ham as a regular European team which is a big compliment, thank you very much.”

    Palace sealed back-to-back wins for the first time this season after their 1-0 triumph at Liverpool and a third for boss Oliver Glasner since he replaced Roy Hodgson in February.

    Glasner pointed to the easing of the injury crisis that has plagued Palace all season as a key factor in their improvement, with Sunday’s victory still a rare chance to witness what the Eagles can be capable of when the influential Eze and Olise are both healthy.

    He added: “That’s our first back-to-back win and this is our challenge: to keep this motivation high, to keep the way we want to play in offence and defence.

    “Because you always have to be concentrated, stay in your position, move the ball quick so that they don’t get the ball and this always starts in your mind if you are focused and concentrated.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.