The Gunners boss was especially defensive of his players in his pre-match press conference before their FA Cup third-round clash at Nottingham Forest
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Mikel Arteta’s recent press conference could have been seen as a way to motivate his Arsenal troops and push them for a top-four finish during the second half.
The Spaniard was not present on the touchline for the Gunners’ last league match, which saw them lose 2-1 to Manchester City. This did not tell the whole story of the game.
Pep Guardiola’s men came into town having decimated Arsenal 5-0 earlier in this season.
Arsenal won the majority of the game but lost the second half due to a two minute spell in the middle. This made it even more difficult.
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GranitXhaka was guilty in a penalty conceded before Gabriel Magalhaes got the second of his two yellow card. Arsenal’s hopes of winning were all but dashed.
Arteta was asked whether the temperaments of both teams were in question.
Arsenal’s young manager seized the chance presented by the question and decided to actually protect his players, as well as take on the officiating.
“Really disappointed by the decisions, they were completely inconsistent and effected the result of the game, I prefer not to say anymore.” Arteta bemoaned.
Arteta’s comments were just one aspect of what has been a transformative week for the Gunners.
The performance against City was everything Arteta-inspired Arsenal wanted, it was filled with young talent as well as technical composure.
Clubs who have used the term frequently “too nice”Arteta’s criticisms of the Gunners come only days after they were handed an FA charge for failing in their duty to ensure that their players played well against City.
The 39-year-old seems to be keen on instilling an “us vs them” mentality in his impressionable, young side. They have given themselves a great opportunity for a top-four finish.
Arsenal players have spent the last few weeks surrounded referees more than ever before.
Even though this kind of conduct is not permitted by the game’s governing body the Emirates faithful clearly appreciate it. This can be seen in their cheers for players despite City’s defeat on New Year’s Day.
Arsenal is currently fourth in the Premier League table. They are two points ahead of Tottenham Hotspur, who have played two fewer games.
They will meet in a North London derby later this month. Arsenal’s main focus right now is on their trip at the City Ground to take down Nottingham Forest four years ago, after Sunday’s defeat to the Gunners.