Mikel Arteta claimed today to be totally oblivious to the furore surrounding Arsenal’s celebrations after their win against Liverpool last Sunday.
Arteta was criticised for running down the touchline after the goals while captain Martin Odegaard was also singled out for taking pictures of club photographer Stuart MacFarlane.
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Sky pundits Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville felt the celebrations went too far following the 3-1 victory – the former saying the Arsenal players should just “get down the tunnel” while former Manchester United defender Neville felt Arsenal had shown “immaturity”.
Ex-Gunners Alan Smith and Ian Wright inevitably jumped to Arsenal’s defence as the row rumbled on.
Arteta, though, says he only found out about the entire rumpus this morning.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s trip to West Ham, he said: “They told me today. I didn’t know anything about it.
Of the celebrations, he added: “I love it. I’ve seen managers at the end on their knees on the pitch, I’ve seen very big managers walking on to the pitch, I see managers going across the touchline. I’ve seen it all in the Premier League.
“Personally I love it because it brings such passion and emotion to the game. When it’s done in a natural way and a unique way I think it’s great. It’s my opinion, other people may think differently.”
He also defended Odegaard, claiming the players interact with MacFarlane on a daily basis.
“They do it every day here in the training ground,” he said. “People are entitled to have their opinion. When you do something publicly there will be opinions, some positive, some not so positive. That’s our job, to accept all of that and still behave like you think is the right way to behave and make sure we don’t lose that.
“It’s so tough to win in this league and for sure it was a big match for us and you can tell how much it meant. It was a great day.”
Unrivalled passion 😍 pic.twitter.com/ISghvRz5T5
— Premier League (@premierleague) February 7, 2024
Last weekend’s win took Arsenal to within two points of table-topping Liverpool but Arteta knows Sunday’s opponents West Ham will present a stern test, especially after they won 2-0 at the Emirates just after Christmas.
The Spaniard is a fan of his counterpart David Moyes and respects the work he has done in east London.
“A really experienced manager, extremely good at getting the best out of his team,” he said.
“He does it in various ways. He’s a really competitive manager that understands really well where to get an edge in a game and waits for the moment to punish you. When you see his trajectory and what he’s done at West Ham it’s incredible.”
Bukayo Saka is fit to play this weekend despite limping off against Liverpool while Arteta will wait to see how Gabriel Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Takehiro Tomiyasu perform at tomorrow’s training session.