EPL

Arteta bristles at Arsenal fixtures: 'Thank you so much to the Premier League'

By Sports Desk March 16, 2022

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has hit out at the Premier League's fixturing ahead of a busy period of catch-up games for the Gunners.

The Gunners suffered a dent in their top-four hopes on Wednesday after going down 2-0 at home to second-placed Liverpool.

The Spanish boss was sarcastic in his response when asked about Arsenal's upcoming logjam of fixtures that includes a fast turnaround to play Aston Villa in the league at lunchtime on Saturday, before facing Chelsea and Manchester United in quick succession next month (April 20 and 23).

“Thank you so much to the Premier League for doing that," Arteta told reporters.

"And they’ve done it again when we have to play Chelsea and Manchester United. So if they want to give them any advantage, I say to them today: ‘Thank you so much for doing that’.”

He added: “No [the Premier League wouldn't change the schedule]. It is always it’s BT, it’s Sky, it is this, it’s that. But the one that is affected is Arsenal and the only thing that I care [about] and we care [about] is Arsenal. And for Arsenal it is not fair.”

Arsenal are currently fourth on the table with 51 points from 27 games, while United are fifth on 50 points but having played two more games.

Arteta insisted his players would be ready for Saturday's test against the Villans despite the turnaround as they seek to put ground on United in the race for the top four.

"Yes, 100 percent, don’t worry the players will be there on Saturday with the energy," he said.

"They will sleep, eat well, but thank you so much to the Premier League for putting the fixtures like this, it’s very, very helpful."

On the Liverpool loss, Arteta said the difference was being clinical in attack, with both sides having nine shots each and the Reds edging possession 52-48 percent.

Martin Odegaard fluffed a golden opportunity after a Liverpool turnover in defence, while the Reds capitalised on their chances with goals from Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino.

"It was the difference today. I don’t think there was any other difference apart from that," Arteta said.

"I think we have closed that gap a lot, but it wasn’t enough because when we went through that door and they went through that door, they scored two goals.

"I’m not happy with the goals that we conceded, but it’s part of the game and when you have those chances you have to take them to get something out of it."

Related items

  • Page sacked as Wales manager Page sacked as Wales manager

    Wales have sacked manager Rob Page following the country's failure to qualify for Euro 2024.

    The 49-year-old was initially given the job on an interim basis in November 2020, taking over from Ryan Giggs, before being appointed permanently in September 2022.

    Page took charge of 45 games for the national team, winning 15 of those matches.

    He oversaw the team at two major tournaments, reaching the round of 16 at Euro 2020, and led Wales to the World Cup for the first time in 64 years, though they exited in the group stage after earning only one point.

    Wales were agonisingly short of qualifying for a third consecutive European Championships, losing on penalties to Poland in their play-off final in March.

    Despite being backed by the Football Association of Wales (FAW) following that result, Page then came under heavy criticism following a goalless draw with minnows Gibraltar and a 4-0 thrashing by Slovakia in their June friendlies, leading to his contract being terminated.

  • Romeu named new head coach of Barcelona Femeni Romeu named new head coach of Barcelona Femeni

    Barcelona have announced Pere Romeu as their new head coach following Jonatan Giraldez's departure.

    Romeu, who was an assistant coach at the club in the last three seasons, has signed a two-year contract until 2026.

    The 30-year-old takes over following a successful season for Barcelona in which they won the quadruple, lifting the Champions League, Liga F, Copa de la Reina and the Supercopa de Espana Femenia.

    Giraldez had confirmed in December 2023 that he would be leaving the club at the end of the campaign, and it was announced in January he would be joining NWSL club Washington Spirit.

    "I have been with the team for three seasons, and I know their day-to-day life. I'm 100 per cent ready," Romeu said in his first interview as head coach.

    Romeu coached in Barcelona men's youth set-up between 2017 and 2020 before joining Romanian side Viitorul Constanta as an assistant coach before making the move back to Catalonia to join Barcelona Femeni in 2021.

  • Italy fortunate to only lose by one, concedes Spalletti Italy fortunate to only lose by one, concedes Spalletti

    Italy boss Luciano Spalletti conceded the Azzurri were never in their Euro 2024 game against Spain and felt the defending champions were fortunate not to lose by more than a one-goal margin.

    Riccardo Calafiori's second-half own goal made the difference as Spain defeated Italy 1-0 in Gelsenkirchen on Thursday.

    The defender became the first Italy player to ever put through his own net in a European Championship match and a poor loss left the Azzurri with work still to do to secure progression from Group B.

    Spain fired off 20 shots to Italy's four, also creating 1.9 expected goals (xG) to the Azzurri's 0.18 and enjoying 57.2 per cent of the possession, with La Roja clinching their place in the knockout rounds.

    Spalletti was honest in his post-match assessment, with a huge clash against Croatia in Leipzig to follow on Monday.

    "It is a result they [Spain] deserved and beyond the one-goal difference," Spalletti told reporters.

    "They deserved to win it and we were never in the game

    "Besides the final 20 minutes of the match we were never able to create situations which would allow us to actually compete against a brand of football of this level.

    "They caused us problems larger than the scoreline suggested, let’s not beat around the bush. 

    "Spain were a team on the night and we were not able to be a team."

    If they are to lift more silverware in Berlin next month, Italy will need a dramatic improvement, as attempting just four shots in the match meant it was their fewest on record (since 1980) in any Euros game.

    By contrast Spain, who were drawn into what many believed to be the toughest group at the tournament, have  made light work of some difficult opponents, thrashing Croatia 3-0 before comfortably overcoming Italy.

    They have clinched top spot in Group B with a game to spare, while Italy are second on three points, two clear of Croatia and Albania going into the final round of games.

    Finding a way to increase his players' energy levels was on Spalletti's mind going into the clash with Zlatko Dalic's side.

    Spalletti added: "Maybe I needed to give them more rest, I probably need to give them more days off.

    "We gave them a day and a half off in terms of rest and we saw that was the right decision in terms of our data.

    "But there was too much of a gulf, we were constantly stretched, we probably didn't recover very well in terms of just how demanding and important the [start of the] tournament was itself, because there was too much of a gulf in terms of sharpness and freshness.

    "You can't necessarily talk about anything else, overall. If you don't have the same stamina as the opposition, obviously you can't do things with the same reactivity, the same speed of reaction."

    If Italy are able to secure second place in Group B, they will face the runners-up in Group A, a position currently held by Switzerland, in the last 16.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.