EPL

Mikel Arteta keen to end Arsenal’s Everton hoodoo despite ’emotional connection’

By Sports Desk September 15, 2023

Mikel Arteta admitted he has an emotional connection with Everton and expects his former side to put up a battle when Arsenal travel to Goodison Park in the Premier League on Sunday.

Arsenal reignite their Premier League bid with a trip to Merseyside where they face Sean Dyche’s Everton, who are unbeaten at home against the Gunners since 2017.

Arteta praised his former side’s attributes and highlighted the special connection between himself and the Toffees.

“I’m really excited about it, the last six years we have not won there so we are going to have to earn it,” Arteta said.

“We know we are going to have to be at our best to beat them there and that’s something we haven’t managed to do so that’s where we are going to start.

“It is a big emotional connection I have to that football club with many years I spent there, the incredible memories that I have so I’m always grateful. It’s a big part of my playing career and as a coach I have to play against them and we have to beat them.

“We’ve been here and we’ve been to grounds before where we haven’t won before and we’ve done it so it’s about understanding the importance and knowing what we lacked in those games and putting it right.

“Sometimes you cannot avoid a battle (with Everton), the style of play they have is very clear and they’re very good at that.

“We have a different one and it’s about trying to impose your way of playing and the tactic is just to make sure your opponent’s strengths are hiding and that ours are coming out every single time to fulfill the potential of your players, and that’s what I think both managers and players will try to do.”

Arsenal’s Champions League opener against PSV next week is their first time back in the competition since the 2016-17 season.

The Spaniard embraced the challenge of a difficult schedule alongside another battle with Manchester City at the summit of the Premier League this season.

“We played three games a week last year, but the Champions League is obviously different with the expectations and that we’ve been away from it for seven years,” he added.

“It’s excitement, this is where we want to be and when you look at the fixtures and the games we are going to have to play, I think everyone is really looking forward to it.”

Arsenal terminated Nicolas Pepe’s contract on Saturday after the Ivorian failed to hold down a starting role at the Emirates since his reported £72 million move – then a club-record fee – in 2019.

Arteta said: “What I can say is that he’s a phenomenal boy, he trained really hard, it’s not his fault that the amount of money we paid at the time.

“When things aren’t working out you have to move on and there’s no point when things aren’t working either way.

“The decisions has been made and I think it’s in the benefit of both parties.”

Related items

  • Michail Antonio felt officials were against West Ham after European exit Michail Antonio felt officials were against West Ham after European exit

    Michail Antonio felt West Ham were up against 14 players as they bowed out of the Europa League to Bayer Leverkusen.

    Antonio’s early header gave the Hammers hope of overturning a 2-0 first-leg deficit and inflicting a first defeat of the season on Xabi Alonso’s new Bundesliga champions.

    But the bustling striker claimed he did not get a decision all night from card-happy Spanish referee Jose Maria Sanchez and his two assistants.

    “It doesn’t feel like you’re playing against 11 men, it feels like you’re playing against 13 or 14 including the two linos,” Antonio told TNT Sports.

    “You just have to keep pushing and try and make the decisions go your way. And they just weren’t. We had to keep playing our way and keep being professional.”

    West Ham pushed gamely for a second goal to take the tie to extra-time, but as they inevitably flagged Leverkusen substitute Jeremie Frimpong scored with a deflected shot in the last minute to make it 1-1 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate.

    It was a valiant effort but ultimately a sad end to another European adventure for last season’s Conference League winners.

    “We’re very proud of ourselves, to achieve what we’ve achieved over the last few years is incredible,” added Antonio.

    “Three back-to-back years in European quarter-finals I would never have thought that. We were a yo-yo team, fighting relegation, then into Europe.”

    Sanchez booked 11 players and sent off West Ham coach Billy McKinlay, and Sebastian Parrilla from Leverkusen’s staff after a touchline altercation.

    Asked if that skirmish had anything to do with some bad-tempered exchanges between the benches in last week’s first leg, Alonso said with a grin: “I wouldn’t say no.”

    Hammers boss David Moyes was not keen to be drawn on the officiating, but he did say: “I watch a lot of Spanish football but if that’s the way it is you wouldn’t want to watch too many Spanish matches.”

    On his side’s performance, he added: “It was a brilliant team performance, I have to say over the two games.

    “We played a really good team and we had chances to be two or three up. I couldn’t fault the players at all. If I was going out of Europe I wanted to go out like that.”

    In the first half Leverkusen looked as though they may have celebrated their first Bundesliga crown on Sunday a little too much, and Alonso admitted they needed to improve after the break.

    “For sure it was a thrilling game,” he said. “Two different halves. First half we knew West Ham would come with high intensity and we were not comfortable with that.

    “After they scored one we were lucky not to concede a second one. But we showed character in the second half and the substitutes had a good impact. It was a lesson for us.”

  • Jurgen Klopp accepts lack of threat cost Liverpool dear in European exit Jurgen Klopp accepts lack of threat cost Liverpool dear in European exit

    Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp accepted their lack of goal threat failed to put enough pressure on Atalanta to help turn their Europa League quarter-final back in their favour.

    Mohamed Salah’s seventh-minute penalty had raised hopes of a Barcelona 2019-style comeback but the Egypt international missed a relatively straightforward lob to make it 2-0 towards the end of the first half and they faded badly after the break as they exited the competition 3-1 on aggregate.

    That meant for only the third time in the 21st century, England have no teams in the semi-finals of the Champions League or Europa League/UEFA Cup.

    “We didn’t lose the tie tonight, we lost it at home,” Klopp said after a 3-0 first-leg defeat proved decisive.

    “It’s very easy to congratulate Atalanta because they deserved to go through. When you win a tie against us 3-1 in especially this way you deserve it absolutely.

    “But I loved our game, especially the start. I loved the commitment, desire and power we developed in this game but it was clear we had better score from time to time otherwise it could be tricky over 90 minutes.

    “The second goal could have helped a little bit. We have to create a little bit more than we did in the first half as it’s clear you need a result to help destabilise the opponent.

    “If you have a second goal it’s a tricky one as the next goal is extra time but we didn’t get to that point and we will never really know how that would have looked.

    “Disappointed we didn’t go through but not frustrated or angry. If you don’t deserve it, it’s all good.”

    Salah has looked well short of his clinical best since returning from almost two months out with a hamstring problem.

    Even though he has scored six in 11 game since he came back two of those have been penalties and he is squandering more chances he would normally be expected to take.

    “I’m not particularly concerned. That’s what strikers do. That’s how it it is. We have to go through it, he has to go through it,” added Klopp.

    “He is one of most experienced players in the squad. That’s pretty much all.

    “It’s not that Mo didn’t miss chances before in his life, that’s part of the game. The penalty was super convincing, a super penalty then the next chance that was unlucky, but it’s not the first time has has missed chances like that.

    “I won’t make a big story of it. I’m not particularly concerned.”

  • Liverpool exit Europa League despite win at Atalanta Liverpool exit Europa League despite win at Atalanta

    Liverpool crashed out of the Europa League after they failed to turn around their 3-0 first-leg defeat to Atalanta despite winning 1-0 at Gewiss Stadium.

    Jurgen Klopp’s men took the lead from the spot in the seventh minute through Mohamed Salah but could not find the goals needed as they fell to a 3-1 aggregate loss in the quarter-finals.

    West Ham were knocked out by Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen at London Stadium, also going out 3-1 on aggregate.

    The Hammers gave themselves hope, both in the tie and of inflicting a first defeat of the season on Leverkusen, courtesy of Michail Antonio’s first-half goal.

    But it was not enough as Leverkusen scored late on through Jeremie Frimpong.

    Roma held off AC Milan to advance to the semi-finals.

    Daniele De Rossi’s side, who won the first leg 1-0, scored two quickfire goals through Gianluca Mancini and Paulo Dybala to strengthen their advantage.

    Despite Mehmet Zeki Çelik’s red card for a late challenge on Rafael Leao and Matteo Gabbia pulling one back in the 85th minute, the hosts managed to see out the match.

    Marseille had to rely on penalties to claim their last-eight win over Benfica.

    Benfica went to Stade Velodrome with a 2-1 advantage.

    Faris Moumbagna opened the scoring for the hosts but both defences proved to be stubborn as the match went the distance after extra-time.

    Antonio Silva and Angel Di Maria missed from 12 yards before Luis Henrique scored the decisive spot-kick to send the French club through.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.