EPL

Arteta defends Kroenke ownership despite Arsenal fan protests

By Sports Desk May 23, 2021

Mikel Arteta defended the Kroenke family as "passionate" about Arsenal on a day the Gunners fans again protested their ownership of the club.

The Gunners claimed a 2-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday in their final Premier League home game of the season thanks to two goals from Nicolas Pepe.

There were 10,000 fans present inside Emirates Stadium to watch the match and a number vented their feelings towards the Kroenke family.

Supporters held up pieces of paper and released balloons on to the pitch that had 'Kroenke out' on them and chanted "we hate Kroenke".

Stan Kroenke and his son Josh have been the subject of fan criticism of their ownership of Arsenal, which has heightened in the wake of their part in the failed European Super League project.

Josh Kroenke attended the match and the American met with Arteta before the game, and the Arsenal head coach defended him afterwards.

"He's very supportive, very passionate about the club," Arteta told a post-match media conference.

"He wants to take the club to a different level. That's the ambition and that's why he's here."

Arsenal's victory saw them finish in eighth in the table, behind north London rivals Tottenham, who they have not finished above since 2016.

Spurs pipped the Gunners to the Europa League Conference, which means Arsenal will be without European football for the first time since the 1995-96 season.

"I am disappointed we are not in Europe," Arteta said.

"We made progress with the number of points but it's frustrating because last season with 61 points you were fifth and now you are eighth.

"It shows you the level you need to get into. We won the last five games but it wasn't enough. 

"I leave the season sad because this club deserves to be delivered trophies and Champions League football and we haven't been able to do that. We have tried to stick together and do our best. It's not been enough.

"Now we have to be very critical with ourselves and myself. For next season prepare the best possible way and take advantage of that.

"Hopefully, we can have a pre-season because I haven't had that and have the chance to work with those players and do a better job."

Arteta also claimed Arsenal is a "good place" for Martin Odegaard but said he did not know if the club can make the on-loan Real Madrid player's switch a permanent one.

Odegaard has one goal and two assists in 14 Premier League appearances this season.

He added: "We have a very clear and strong opinion on what we would like to do, but he's not our player.

"We will have to discuss [the situation] in the next few weeks what and respect [his position] first of all because he's a Real Madrid player and [then] have those communications.

"We tried to make everything that we could to get Martin performing for the team, which I think he's done. He has adapted really well to our way of playing and to our football club.

"Hopefully we have given him as well the hope and the feeling that it could be a good place for him."

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