Guardiola warns Arsenal over making ‘big mistake’ with Arteta

Date published: Wednesday 23rd December 2020 9:39 - Dave Tindall

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Pep Guardiola has warned Arsenal chiefs against hitting the panic button and getting rid of under-fire boss Gunners Mikel Arteta.

Arsenal are 15th in the Premier League, just four points above the relegation zone.

And a 4-1 home defeat to Guardiola’s City in the EFL Cup on Tuesday night made it five defeats in eight games. The last time they won a domestic fixture was November 1.

Both Arsenal and City sent out much-changed starting XIs for the quarter-final clash at the Emirates. But despite an equaliser from Alexandre Lacazette, City ran away with it in the second half.

The Gunners’ current woes were summed up by reserve goalkeeper Alex Runarsson letting Riyad Mahrez’s free-kick straight through his hands.

It means Arteta is now odds-on favourite to be the next Premier League manager to go.

However, Guardiola has given a strong message of support for his former assistant.

Asked about the possibility of Arteta going, Guardiola told BBC Radio 5 Live: “They will do a huge, big mistake.

“I’m pretty sure they are going to trust him. I understand for the analysts, analyse the results.

“But I was with him many years and I know his incredible quality as a human being and especially as a manager, how he is involved in everything. It’s just a question of time and he will do well.

“I’m not on the board. For me they will do a big mistake if they are thinking. They give him the confidence, they won two titles when for a long time ago it didn’t happen at this club.

“In this pandemic situation, with injury problems they have and the games they played always they played good.

“But unfortunately these games is our job and it depends on the results. But football changes in one week so quick.”

Arteta backing for Martinelli

Gabriel Martinelli returned for Arsenal after a lengthy absence. But he was forced to off after 49 minutes.

Arteta played down the injury and praised the Brazilian striker’s impact.

“Gabi has a unique energy and a way to transmit his passion for the game,” said Arteta.

“I think he plays the game in a different way to any other player so it is hard to compare him.

“But it is great to have him back, to bring that spirit, that fight. And after such a long time to play against this opponent, the way he did it I think in the first half, it is something to be really proud of.”

Arteta made eight changes to the team that lost 2-1 at Everton. He later defended his decision.

“It was a combination of the amount of games that some of them have played, some players could not be involved, and others deserved to play,” he said.

“It is a painful moment again. We started the game and conceded a soft goal really early. After that in this moment, to get over that is difficult.”

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