Five Things Arsenal Boss Mikel Arteta Got Wrong Against Everton


The stage was set at Goodison Park for the hosts, Everton, to take on a recently wounded Arsenal. Though the Merseyside outfit did not have much to show in the last two months for their efforts, the team was sent out to make a point. Rafa Benitez, not backed by the club’s faithful, was now going to face against a player that the fans deemed a club legend (managing a rival club), Mikel Arteta.

This battle would surely be an intense one, though the overall Premier League fanbase expected the Gunners to be the more aggressive one. However, for some reason, that was not the case. The curse of the “holiday period” that Arsenal has been suffering for quite some time, continued to now haunt Mikel Arteta.

Despite that, it was the visitors that got the first goal via a Tierney cross that Odegaard finished towards the end of the first period. Though the Toffees had a few chances, the offside flag didn’t help their cause. On the other hand, VAR let off Ben Godfrey on an occasion when he could have possibly seen “red”.

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Keeping that in mind, the home side fought back and made a comeback to win the game 2-1. Richarlison scored with his third attempt of putting the ball into the back of the net, while Demarai Gray, who got the assist for the first by hitting the post, slotted home an absolute beauty for the second.

Yes, it was a game where Arsenal was surely poor and there were many reasons for it. Everton did somewhere down the line, deserve the win at the end of the day.

Here are five things that Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta got wrong on this return to Goodison Park-

Starting an out-of-form Thomas Partey over Lokonga and Ainsley in a double pivot with a returning Granit Xhaka, who played 97 minutes

Thomas Partey has been absolutely bonkers in the last few games. Our sources suggest that he has been partying too hard during his time in London and the man needs to take football more seriously. The fact that he is at Arsenal and having such high wages and a regular team-starter have gotten to him and Partey needs to mellow down a bit and start performing again.

With the kind of performances that he has been putting, Partey will surely have a tough time at the AFCON with Ghana if he does not step up now. The fans would be worried watching some of his recent performances and only time will tell if he still has it.

Granit Xhaka explains why Thomas Partey partnership helps Arsenal | Metro News

With that being said, it was not right to play him in this game and drop Lokonga and Ainsley, which was the duo in form. They both deserved to start ahead of him and a returning Granit Xhaka, who hadn’t played in a long time. Maybe, Arteta took this a bit too casually and wanted them to find some form. However, that was not the case, as Everton just came at them with all they had.

The duo does not have the legs or the pace to cope with runners in midfield and was done by the inability to cope with this problem right through. The transition too was quite slow and this helped the home side dominate the match, with the Arsenal attackers receiving minimal service.

Sat back once again after scoring the first goal towards the end of the first half

This has been a constant problem of this team and somewhere now it does boil down to the manager too. Many of these players become really complacent once the team scores a goal and they are dominating proceedings. The intensity levels are not the same once the Gunners have a lead and they tend to just sit back, relax and wait for the opposition to throw all that they have at them.

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This doesn’t generally end well in football when there is a half or more remaining in the game. Fending off chance after chance is not smart and though the manager and the players know this, there is some lack of communication between them. This needs to be resolved as soon as possible for the better. Let’s wait and see what Mikel Arteta does about it in the games to come.

Taking off Tierney and bringing on Tavares in a high-intensity game with Everton pressing really hard

Kieran Tierney made a brilliant comeback into the team after his injuries and as Nuno Tavares dropped form. The Scottish international had been patient and was watching from the bench in recent times. He was one of the best players for Arsenal in the game and the fans were loving what he was doing, including his brilliant assist for the goal that Odegaard scored.

Further, Tierney has been known to be an injury-prone player over the years. Even Mikel Arteta felt that he needed to be taken off at some point in time, due to his previous concerns. To add to that, Arteta can be over-protective at times.

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Despite that, the fans were just not pleased. Tierney did not look tired or burnt-out in this match. He still seemed very energetic and could have added a flare and the leadership that was needed. Arsenal had clearly not won the game yet and needed to keep control. Mikel Arteta got it wrong.

Furthermore, he was replaced by a mistake-prone Nuno Tavares, who kept giving away the ball. In a 20-minute gap, the man lost the ball four times, only to assist Everton with their press. He was also responsible for helping the opposition push further up the pitch and was ineffective in the game, as a whole. This cost the visitors.

Bringing on Eddie Nketiah and a “trash” Aubameyang over Pepe or an attack-minded midfielder

Though Mikel Arteta is no big fan of Nicolas Pepe, Eddie Nketiah has been equally poor over the years for the Gunners. Neither player have made any major impact in the recent seasons to warrant a place in the starting eleven.

Despite that, Pepe this season has not been given any chances at all. Despite the sweet talk and the lovey-dovey comments in the media by Arteta about the Ivory Coast attacker, it does not seem that Pepe has anything left to offer Arsenal now. That is what seems to be the clear message and the player may look to move on in January.

Arsenal 3-0 Dundalk: Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock and Nicolas Pepe score in unconvincing Arsenal win | Football News | Sky Sports

This was once again evident by the fact that Nicolas Pepe sat on the bench watching the game, while Eddie Nketiah, who will leave at the end of the season on a free transfer and has refused an extension, came on. Further, a totally out-of-form Aubameyang too made it into the game, leaving fans bemused as to what wrong Pepe had done.

Both players missed sitters in the game, which could have seen their team take something back home from Goodison. This really made the Arsenal fanbase further angry and they could not understand the logic. Though both players are high pressing attackers and Pepe isn’t, their form did not justify the substitution and in hindsight one can say Arteta failed, though fans knew it would more or less be the case when they saw them come on, but hoped otherwise.

Not replacing Granit Xhaka after he was booked in the second half for a foolish challenge, was absolutely useless post the card

Any football and Arsenal fan that follows Granit Xhaka over the years since his Arsenal debut knows that the man has one bad habit that no one really likes and some find it funny enough to banter. The Swiss international gets booked at least once in almost every match for the Londoners.

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Granit Xhaka has this weird habit of pulling down a player each and every time they pass him. Sometimes he does it for the team, while other times he just does it to stamp authority. In either case, the player is just too slow and the fans know it. So does Mikel Arteta!!

Despite that, there was no substitution made when Xhaka decided to land a silly foul on Gordon and get himself into the book. It was stupid to see at first but maybe Xhaka was just trying to break down the play and stop Everton’s momentum. Despite that, once he was booked, it was up to Arteta to replace him.

Mikel Arteta had Mo Elneny, Ainsley and Lokonga on the bench that could have come on. They could have added some quality, pace and more “common sense” to the midfield. However, they were not brought into the game and the price was paid in the Everton winner, in which the play ran right through Xhaka.

Well, at the end of the day, the better team probably won and the Arsenal fans were not impressed with this casual performance by their team. Mikel Arteta would be really frustrated as well. He will want his players to take things more seriously now. They are still in the hunt for a top-four and top-six spot to secure European football for next season. Let’s see if they can deliver or not!!

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