Mikel Arteta aims subtle dig at Newcastle United ahead of Arsenal’s St James’ Park visit
Mikel Arteta spoke to the media ahead of Arsenal’s visit to St James’ Park this Sunday.
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In the reverse fixture in January, Eddie Howe’s men became the first team to stop the Gunners from claiming maximum points at the Emirates Stadium this season.
Arteta felt his side deserved to win the game and was adamant the match referee and VAR overlooked two “scandalous penalties”. Howe and Arteta furiously had words on the touchline during injury time, though shook hands at the full-time whistle.
It was a bad-tempered affair at times, and Arteta clearly hasn’t forgotten after seemingly taking aim at the way United set up in North London that evening.
“We will try to play the game that we want and they will want to play a very different game, that’s for sure,” the Spaniard said. “That was the battle when we played them at Emirates Stadium, I think we deserved to win the game.
“There are things that are obviously going to be different from the last game and we’re going to have to be better to earn the right to win it.”
Arteta added: “We’ve had a few, but that was a game that we deserved to win. We didn’t at the end but they are a really good side who are well coached and have really good players and the right environment around the club right now, so they are in a good place.”
Newcastle sit third in the Premier League table and require nine points from their remaining five games to mathematically guarantee Champions League qualification.
Despite Arteta’s obvious frustrations from the last meeting, the 41-year-old is happy to admit United deserve to be where they are.
“They already are third in the league right now, and they merit that position with the way they have performed and the amount of changes they have made,” Arteta said. “They have made some very intelligent decisions as well, so they deserve to be where they are.”
For Arteta’s part, he will be hoping to avoid a repeat of last season’s visit to St James’ Park. The Gunners rocked up needing a result to keep their top four dream alive and suffered a 2-0 defeat. This time around, they need a win to remain in the title race with Manchester City.
“It is a very different game,” said Arteta. “It was a year ago with different players, a different game but we’ll have to play much better than we did last year, that’s for sure. We know that it is going to be a really tough game because especially at home they’ve been really good.”
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