EPL

Arteta calls for Arsenal siege mentality in face of red card pressure

By Sports Desk February 19, 2022

Mikel Arteta has backed Arsenal's mentality when under pressure, but acknowledged that his side have brought difficulties upon themselves at points under his watch.

Arsenal welcome Brentford to Emirates Stadium on Saturday as they look to close in on the top four.

They will do so without Gabriel Martinelli however, with the 20-year-old's red card against Wolves the latest instance of an Arsenal player's dismissal under Arteta.

Speaking ahead of the Brentford clash, Arteta conceded that the way he chooses to play runs these risks, but added that he feels his team can weather the adversity that might result from the indiscipline.

"We have to face whatever challenges that we have in front of us," he said in a news conference. "Someday we have provoked those challenges ourselves, sometimes it has been someone external.

"Whatever is in front of us, we have to have that mentality and that attitude to say, 'Okay, let's face it' and 'let's go for it' and we can overcome it. This is how [Martinelli] wanted to play."

Arteta further added that his side should relish a bunker mentality, drawing comparison to the teams of Jose Mourinho and Alex Ferguson, and how they thrived under the spotlight.

"One hundred per cent, because I want the team to feel that they have the tools and they have the right mindset to face anything that is in front of us," he added.

"That's the only way that you are able to win."

Yet another red card for his side at Molineux sparked further speculation from the media over Arteta's methods, but the former Manchester City assistant added that he tends to encourage his side to block out the noise.

"We focus on what we can control [and] what we have to do," he stated. "Our focus doesn't change because we can't control what is out there."

While Arsenal do not lead the way for bookings in the Premier League, their red card haul over the past two years is noticeable for its sheer volume next to their rivals.

They have picked up a dozen dismissals since Boxing Day 2019, when Arteta oversaw his first game. That is five more than the next two sides, in Brighton and Hove Albion and Southampton (both seven), while their average total of fouls per red card sits at 65.4, a full 30 offences more than the second-ranked Bournemouth, at 98.5.

Arsenal sit sixth heading into Saturday's game, four points behind fourth-placed Manchester United but with three matches in hand.

The Gunners are unbeaten in their last 32 Premier League home games against promoted sides (W27 D5), since a 1-0 loss against Newcastle United in November 2010. They have only failed to score in one of those 32 matches, a goalless draw with Middlesbrough in October 2016.

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