Mikel Arteta’s mind games since the NLD have been so transparent that it’s been cringeworthy.
Our manager thinks our defeat can be explained away by blaming the officials, with him or his players taking zero accountability.
To clarity that’s the boss of Arsenal FC saying he’s ‘happy’ with his team after losing 3-0 to our rivals.
That’s how low we have fallen. This from a man who when it suits him preaches the values of the club he once captained.
Most of the time in Football, you don’t concede 3 goals and score zero purely based on referees.
Of course, it doesn’t matter if Gooners believe him or what Conte’s view is.
The most important aspect is what the squad deep down feel.
With a quick turnaround, their coach has chosen not to dwell on went wrong at the Lane, hoping by Monday it will be shrugged off as an injustice.
If we win our next two fixtures, then that’s worked.
In reality how many of our players believe that?
Or do they notice a trend that some in our fanbase have noticed?
That when the pressure is on, we have a tendency not to show up?
Like at Palace?
Like at home to Brighton?
Away to Saints?
Like in the 2nd leg of the Carabao Cup?
Like in the FA Cup?
Like at Anfield?
The majority of those occasions we never looked like scoring.
That’s not down to any decisions going against us, that’s because the Spaniard chose to make us weaker in attack in January and put all the pressure on youngsters to be our main creative outlet.
For argument’s sake, the penalty was soft in midweek, but can’t be explained as such a bad call our gaffer fears a six month ban if addressed.
Cedric makes zero attempt to play the ball.
On a yellow card, Holding has no reason to do what he did.
If these instances were a one off, you could dismiss them.
In reality they showcase the weak mentality when the stakes are high.
My biggest fear though is what if Arteta believes what he’s saying?
What if he genuinely goes to bed thinking the standard of our performance at Spurs is acceptable?
It’s not his fault. His employers rewarded him with a new contract without knowing what European competition we will be in next year.
If his bosses are saying that Champions League isn’t a minimal requirement, then can we blame him for setting the bar so low?
Chelsea and Man United would sack anyone for 5th or lower because they are big clubs who view that as unacceptable
This weekend he shouldn’t worry about riffs or conspiracy theories.
Don’t even worry about who to play at centreback.
Make sure we have the toughness in our brains to go to the Toon on a Monday Night, flood lights on, must-win and that we can handle the occasion.
The fact that we as supporters wouldn’t be shocked if we don’t speak volumes.
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Video – Mikel Arteta on Tottenham, the referee and bad news on Gabriel