EPL

Arteta 'really disappointed' despite Arsenal fightback against West Ham

By Sports Desk March 21, 2021

Mikel Arteta declared himself "really disappointed" despite Arsenal fighting back from three goals down to claim 3-3 draw with West Ham United on Sunday.

The Gunners paid for a poor start at the London Stadium as they fell behind to early goals from Jesse Lingard, Jarrod Bowen and Tomas Soucek.

However, they reduced the deficit when Soucek was forced to put through his own net before the break, and it was game on when Craig Dawson did the same following the restart.

Alexandre Lacazette subsequently completed the turnaround with a header 10 minutes from time to earn the visitors a share of the spoils.

But, speaking after the game, manager Arteta could not hide his disappointment over a sloppy start that had given his side a mountain to climb.

He told Sky Sports: "I'm really disappointed because I cannot accept my team to play the way we did for certain periods in the first half because what I expect is the team to play the level we showed afterwards. 

"We played incredibly well, we should have scored six or seven goals, but we had two faces and the first face is about giving goals to the opponent and not doing what we have to do and that is not good enough.

"The first goal, it can happen. It's a really good combination, they do that, they play that channel well and have players in the box and scored a brilliant goal, it's fine. 

"The way we concede the second one is unacceptable, the third goal is unacceptable, and we still gave them one more – a throw-in and they hit the post.

"For the rest, [I liked] the attitude, the desire that we showed and the togetherness that we showed, because at 3-0 it's really difficult to do what we've done. 

"I have no doubts because we talked about it and I can see every day the energy and the cohesion the players have. We came really close to winning, I thought we deserved to win in the end, but the first part really worries me."

Arteta's opposite number David Moyes struck a more positive note, despite the fact his team threw away a sizeable lead.

"It was a really good game, a tough game, lots of goals. We played very well, especially in the opening 30 minutes, we were excellent," Moyes said.

"Unfortunately, we gave them a goal just before half-time from a deflection which I think the shot was going wide and it gave Arsenal a bit of a foot up. That made it more difficult. 

"We played very well for long periods; Arsenal played very well, but Arsenal are in good form at the minute and showing good things. 

"It wasn't a great result for us after going 3-0 up but it was still a good result. We've still kept ourselves moving along, it was a tough game for us and we showed that we're up there competing with the best teams."

The Hammers find themselves in the midst of a perhaps unexpected push for Champions League football this season, but missed a chance to go level on points with fourth-placed Chelsea.

Still, Moyes remained sanguine about his team's position given the manner in which they have exceeded all expectations thus far.

He added: "It's been a long time since we've finished above Arsenal in the league at West Ham, so we've done our best to make sure they can't catch us. 

"We're trying to stay in the top half of the league, I think at the start of the season if we'd said that we'd have said it's [going] good. But now we want more, now I'm greedy. 

"You should see the dressing room, they're devastated because they haven't taken all three points. It's a good sign for a manager, though."

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    Lionel Messi will not return to Barcelona due to "economic and structural obstacles", the club announced on Thursday.

    The Blaugrana great's contract at Camp Nou expired at the end of last season, but he was expected to commit to a new deal ahead of the coming campaign.

    Messi reportedly agreed a 50 per cent reduction in wages, with news of the contract anticipated this week ahead of Sunday's Joan Gamper Trophy match against Juventus.

    But Barca's dire financial situation means they are unable to register new players due to LaLiga's salary restrictions.

    Messi, like new signings Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia and Emerson Royal, had been left in limbo.

    And following widespread reports in the Spanish media, Barca confirmed Messi could not formalise the agreement, meaning he "will not continue to be linked to FC Barcelona".

    A statement read: "Despite having reached an agreement between FC Barcelona and Leo Messi and with the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, it will not be possible to formalise it due to economic and structural obstacles (Spanish LaLiga regulations)."

    "Given this situation, Lionel Messi will not continue to be linked to FC Barcelona.

    "Both sides deeply regret that the wishes of both the player and the club cannot ultimately be fulfilled.

    "Barca would like to thank the player most sincerely for his contribution to the aggrandisement of the institution and wishes him the best in his personal and professional life."

    Messi is widely acknowledged as Barca's greatest ever player, having scored 672 goals and provided 265 assists in 778 appearances.

    He has been part of four triumphant Champions League teams, also winning LaLiga on 10 occasions.

    The 34-year-old finally ended his wait for a first international honour with Argentina at this year's Copa America, but his future is now in serious doubt.

    Messi was linked with Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain when he first pursued a Camp Nou exit last year.

    But City appear focused on Jack Grealish and Harry Kane, while PSG have already spent heavily as well as agreeing a new contract with Neymar and opening talks with Kylian Mbappe.

    The expectation Messi would remain at Barca leaves no obvious next destination in the immediate aftermath of a shock announcement.

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    Messi had been expected to agree a new deal with Barca after he became a free agent at the end of last season.

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    Messi's next move is far from clear, but the sensational development brings to an end a glittering Camp Nou career.

    Using Opta data, Stats Perform looks at some of the forward's incredible feats with the Blaugrana.

    Messi played 778 games for Barcelona in all competitions, scoring 672 goals and providing 265 assists across those games. That amounts to 937 goal involvements during his Barca career, which began as a 17-year-old.

    The one-club man's first appearance for Barcelona came under Frank Rijkaard against Espanyol in October 2004, while his first goal arrived seven months later against Albacete at Camp Nou from a Ronaldinho assist.

    Brazil great Ronaldinho was the last Barcelona player to wear the famed number 10 before Messi took that shirt in 2008 and made it his own.

    But Ronaldinho does not feature among the top assisters for Messi goals, a list that is led by Luis Suarez (47). Dani Alves assisted 42 of the attacker's goals and third is Andres Iniesta with 37, six more than fellow legendary midfielder Xavi.

    Messi played under eight different coaches during his time with Barcelona. Of those, he featured most often (219 appearances) and scored the most goals (211) during Pep Guardiola's tenure.

    However, the 60 goals Messi scored in 50 games under the late Tito Vilanova – an average of 1.20 goals per match – was his best goals-per-game return with a single coach.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, Messi's lowest average goals-per-game ratio was during the Rijkaard era at the start of his career (0.38), followed by the 0.63 managed under Quique Setien between January and August 2020.

    Messi's most prolific season as a Barcelona player was in 2011-12 when scoring a remarkable 73 goals in all competitions and providing a further 28 assists, setting a personal record in both categories.

    Indeed, the forward netted 79 goals for his club across the calendar year in 2012, which is a record amount by a single player. His next most prolific year was 2010 when registering 58 times.

    In more recent years, Messi managed 51 goals in 2016, 50 goals in 2017, 47 goals in 2018, 45 goals in 2019 and 26 goals in 2020 – a steady decline that he had already rectified this year, having scored 28 times in the first half of 2021.

    He is the only player to have scored 10 or more goals in LaLiga in 15 consecutive seasons.

    Messi's 672 goals for Barcelona were scored against 82 different teams. Sevilla were his favourite opponent, finding the net against them 38 times in 43 appearances.

    Atletico Madrid were next on that particular list, with Messi bagging 32 goals in that fixture, followed by Valencia (31), Athletic Bilbao (29) and bitter rivals Real Madrid (26), making him the leading all-time scorer in El Clasico.

    In terms of individual goalkeepers, Diego Alves was Messi's biggest victim, the former Almeria and Valencia man having conceded 21 goals against the Argentina superstar.

    Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas was joint-third with 17 goals against, one less than the 18 Messi put past Gorka Iraizoz.

    Messi is of course synonymous with Camp Nou, a ground where he has scored 394 goals in 381 games at an average of 1.03 per match. Madrid fans will be particularly sick of him as he has scored 15 times in 22 games at the Santiago Bernabeu – his second favourite venue.

    That is followed by Vicente Calderon, Atletico Madrid's old home (14 goals in 20 appearances). Deportivo La Coruna's Estadio Riazor (13 in eight) and Sevilla's Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan (13 in 18) complete the top five.

    At the opposite end of the spectrum, Messi has played more times at Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena (three) without scoring than at any other stadium for Barcelona. He is also without a goal in two trips to English grounds Anfield and Old Trafford.

     

    Messi's other notable records and achievements

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    – Messi was the first player to score five goals in a Champions League match, doing so against Bayer Leverkusen in March 2012 at Camp Nou.

    – The Argentina forward is one of six players to score more than 50 goals in Copa del Rey's history and the only one to score in six different finals in the tournament (Telmo Zarra scored in five).

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