Arteta not getting carried away over Arsenal's early season form
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Richard Keys has been told to ‘get over it’ by Laura Woods after he criticised Arsenal for the manner in which they celebrated their 2-1 win over Fulham at the weekend. The Gunners are currently top of the Premier League after winning all of their opening four matches of the season.
Keys has been vocal about numerous clubs ‘over-celebrating’ over the past few seasons, slamming teams for how they are reacting to goals and wins. The pundit believes that the size of celebrations should be reflected by the opposition and the importance of the match – for example, a top team beating a lower team in a league match warrants minimal merriments.
Arsenal were particularly jubilant at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday after goals from Martin Odegaard and Gabriel meant that Mikel Arteta’s side came from behind to beat Fulham. Speaking about that on beIN Sports, Keys said: “I understand Arsenal’s fans celebrating in the manner that they did. I felt that the coach and his players over-celebrated a 2-1 win against Fulham,
“I think this sort of reaction to what happened yesterday from Arteta and co tells me how far they’ve fallen. Arsene Wenger would have been howled out of the arena if his team had scraped a 2-1 win with, in effect, an own goal that was well off-target until it took a deflection, and a present from Jay (Bernd) Leno.”
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Arteta was visibly elated as the full-time whistle sounded, embracing several members of the backroom team before going to shake the hand of Fulham boss Marco Silva. His side were far from at their best on the day, and pundit Woods feels that her side’s celebrations reflected a sense of relief in the camp.
She told talkSPORT: “Last season, at this point, we were taking bets on this show for relegation for Arsenal and for Mikel Arteta to lose his job. So, I don’t think that celebration was necessarily about beating Fulham. It was probably a combination of things. Probably a lot of relief in there as well at the way that Mikel Arteta has turned that club around.
“Give us a little bit of a break, give us some credit in this. I think a lot of it as well is rebuilding this team and rebuilding the relationship with the fans, which was so important for Mikel Arteta. To rebuild the relationship with the fanbase to the point where they are celebrating after beating Fulham that much, that’s a positive for me, that’s great. It’s not just about who you beat, it’s the football that they’re playing, and it’s the position that you put yourselves in.
“It’s the Premier League, anything can happen. Just enjoy it while it’s there. Don’t rain on people’s parade. If you’re not allowed to celebrate and if someone’s going to come along and say: ‘hang on a minute, that’s a bit much! That looks like a Premier League celebration, why are you celebrating like you won the league?’ It’s just celebrating a game. It means something to somebody. Get over it!”
Arsenal take on Aston Villa on Tuesday night before travelling to Old Trafford on Sunday to face Manchester United, in what will be their toughest game – on paper – so far this season.
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