Mikel Arteta pointed the finger of blame at VAR and not pre-match protests from Arsenal fans as a Bernd Leno own goal saw his side lose at home to Everton.
He also admitted that Arsenal’s fans and owner Stan Kroenke need to somehow find a way to repair their broken relationship after the game was overshadowed by huge protests against the unpopular American owner.
Thousands of Arsenal supporters marched on the ground to protest against the club’s owners.
‘It is a relationship that has to come together from both parties and some probably giving some opportunities and one showing they want to be closer to them,’ Arteta said.
‘Now my biggest challenge is to get them inside the stadium and show that passion and that togetherness and unity because the team is desperate for them to be closer.’
The action on the pitch did not rival the pre-match protests, which included fireworks that were missing for large parts of the Premier League match itself.
But Everton would leave north London with all three points after goalkeeper Leno turned a Richarlison cross into his own net to give the Toffees a 1-0 win, their first away to Arsenal in 25 years.
Arteta refused to pinpoint the fans protests as a distraction for his players – who arrived five hours before kick-off to avoid any issues outside the stadium – and instead turned his ire to a VAR call which saw a penalty for a foul on Dani Ceballos ruled out for a narrow offside against Nicolas Pepe in the build-up.
Asked if the protests had impacted on the result, Arteta said: ‘No, we knew that was happening and that our fans wanted to express their feelings and we made preparations with that in mind and it is not an excuse.
‘We lost the game because when we had to define the game in the crucial moments, we had no clear chances and then we concede an own goal and when we earned the right to score, with the decisions that was taken away.’
Arteta was clearly annoyed by the VAR call against Pepe and was bullish when asked if the decision had made him angry.
‘Obviously it has because this has been building up and enough is enough and today I have had enough,’ he added.
‘We have had many of them that no one explains and when they do explain they say “sorry, it was a mistake” but unfortunately it is affecting a lot of people and it is affecting our job and most importantly our football club.
‘I cannot understand it, I have been in football long enough and I watch it 10 times and still if I want to find it, I can’t find it.’
- Credit : Daily Mail