Arteta shifts blame away from Leno and onto VAR decisions

Date published: Friday 23rd April 2021 10:43 - James Holland

Mikel Arteta Arsenal F365

Mikel Arteta has shifted blame away from keeper Bernd Leno following Arsenal’s 1-0 home defeat to Everton.

The German shot-stopper scored an own goal as the Gunners’ terrible week continued.

They rescued a 1-1 draw against Fulham last time out and were involved in the controversial Super League plans this week.

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Arteta will have been hoping for a return to form on the pitch to silence their critics and appease their protesting fans.

But that wasn’t the case as they delivered a toothless performance at the Emirates.

They seemed to be given a penalty in the second half when Richarlison felled Dani Ceballos in the box. The penalty was then overturned by VAR for an offside in the build-up.

Everton were gifted the only goal of the game in the 76th-minute. Richarlison got past Granit Xhaka before sending a cross towards Leno, who misjudged the ball and let it go past him.

Reacting to the defeat, Arteta said: “Performance-wise we were the better team, we controlled the game and we had some opportunities and openings. We had a clear penalty that was disallowed somehow and then we score an own goal.

“The penalty is clear, those decisions have been made after, I don’t know how or who by, we cannot see their faces to explain it. It’s the second time in two weeks.

“I can see the images 20 times and I don’t get it.

“Errors are part of football, we conceeded an own goal that defined the game at the end. We didn’t create enough against a team that is well organised, we lacked clarity in the final third.”

Arsenal’s next game will be massive for their season. They take on Villareal in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final tie.

Arteta added: “We need to go through the disappointment and focus our energy, the semi-final is more than crucial for us. I don’t want to use any excuses.”

The Spaniard also said he ‘understands the protests’ against owner Stan Kroenke before kick-off.

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