Mikel Arteta Claims Full Responsibility in Gunners Crushing 3-1 Defeat Against West Ham
It looks like the same old story for Mikel Arteta and his crew as they again crumble under expectations in their visit to the London Stadium ahead of their Round 4 match against West Ham. After Newcastle kindly knocked out Manchester City in the previous round, Arsenal were prime favourites to lift the trophy, but Mikel Arteta failed to account for the importance of some of his players and the highly motivated opposition they are facing. While the first goal was not without controversy, the match played out with the host capitalising on their chances while the Gunners rued their missed chances and lack of cohesion in breaking apart the Hammers’s defence.
Mikel Arteta’s Decision to Overlook Players Cost Them the Game
As mentioned above, Mikel Arteta took it upon himself for the loss as he stated: “I am very disappointed. I am responsible for that. We are out of the Cup. We wanted to play a very different game and compete. The game took a direction because of the first goal, but we must see much more from the team and earn the right to win. I am disappointed with myself. We wanted to play differently, but we were unable to do that. Every time we lose, the pain is there. We must use this pain and this defeat to prepare the best way for Newcastle on Saturday.”
To be fair to Mikel Arteta, the team he selected was not weak on paper. For instance, Fábio Vieira, Leandro Trossard, and Eddie Nketiah were scorers of decisive goals for Arsenal previously, with the latter even getting a hat-trick against Sheffield United on Saturday. However, the six changes proved too many as Arsenal lacked the direct penetration of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and the solid midfield engine of Declan Rice.
After the officials awarded West Ham the controversial first goal, where Mikel Arteta was adamant that should be ruled off for a Tomáš Souček shirt pull foul on Aaron Ramsdale, Arsenal slowly crumbled in the second half. A moment of magic from Mohammed Kudus gave the Hammers their second in the 50th minute, and Jarrod Bowen sealed off the game just 10 minutes later with a deflected strike. While Mikel Arteta’s substitutions did make an impact, with Captain Martin Ødegaard scoring in injury time, it proved too late as the Hammer advanced into the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup at the expense of their London rivals.
Declan Rice Returns to Mixed Receptions
Speaking about Declan Rice, the former West Ham Captain who led his team to a Europa Conference League triumph returned to mixed receptions from the fans after his £105 million move to Arsenal in the summer. Despite David Moyes calling for fans to warmly welcome back their ex-midfielder with open arms, the home fans sang: “You should have signed for a big club” to Rice as their team knocked out Arsenal.
After the game, David Moyes responded: “I think everybody is entitled to their opinion. There is no one in this stadium tonight who does not recognise Declan Rice as a top football player. But there were a lot of West Ham supporters in there tonight who probably hoped that he did not do so well and their team won. From that point of view, you will always get mixed feelings and different opinions.”
Moreover, the West Ham manager also defended Mikel Arteta’s selection against his team. “I have been in football that long, and I am probably one of the most experienced managers, and I think the managers continue to get asked questions about the changes in the teams. It really surprises me that the journalists who watch all the football would not say they have got 18 or 19 players in their squad who are probably good enough to play, and there is a lot of football to play. Arsenal have got Newcastle on Saturday, then they got Sevilla, so they have got big games coming up, maybe bigger than tonight’s game.”
Where to Watch the Highlights of the EFL Cup？
While the EFL Cup may not be of the same prestige as the UEFA Champions League, it is still a trophy and title worth winning to give teams some confidence and accolades heading into the future. To watch the highlights of the EFL Cup, head over to AsiaSport for high-definition highlights and the latest news updates of your favourite teams. Attached below is Mohammed Kudus’s brilliant goal that gave West Ham a two-goal lead over Mikel Arteta’s Gunners.