William Gallas reveals he upset Mikel Arteta with Arsenal question on Sky Sports
William Gallas claims he annoyed Mikel Arteta with a question about Arsenal and the Premier League title race while working as a pundit for Sky Sports.
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Ex-Gunners captain Gallas was on punditry duties for Arsenal’s Premier League clash against Newcastle United at St James Park earlier this month.
Arsenal still had an outside chance of winning the title at that stage despite a wobble throughout April that allowed Manchester City to surge to the top of the table.
Given Arsenal and Man City’s differing form, Gallas made it clear to Arteta in his pre-match interview that his side ‘had to beat’ Newcastle and asked the manager if he believed the Gunners could handle the pressure.
But Gallas ‘could tell’ Arteta was annoyed by the question and says a player later confirmed to him that the line of questioning was not appreciated.
Arsenal did handle the pressure at St James’ Park – keeping their title hopes alive with a 2-0 win – but would then suffer defeats to Brighton and Nottingham Forest to allow Man City to clinch the title with three games to spare.
‘I was working as a pundit on Sky Sports for the Newcastle game and I asked Mikel Arteta if he thought his players could deal with the pressure in the run-in,’ Gallas told Genting Casino.
‘I could tell that he wasn’t happy with me for asking the question and another player mentioned to me afterwards that he didn’t like my question, but I wanted to know.
‘I was very curious to know if the players could accept the pressure that was on their shoulders and perform.
‘Mikel Arteta was very confident that his team could handle the pressure, and Arsenal picked up a brilliant result on the day.
‘Being in the stadium, the atmosphere was crazy, I was looking around at the fans and was thinking to myself, “Oh my god. This is a match that every player would want to play in.”
‘It was amazing. Sometimes players can shrink in those environments, but Arsenal had the perfect answer, they were compact, they hurt the opponent when they had the chance.
‘For me, I can’t understand why they have not been able to replicate that type of performance in the last few games against Brighton and Nottingham Forest. They miss some experienced players.’
Arsenal sat top of the Premier League for 248 days this season as they chased a first league title since 2004.
The Gunners were in sensational form in the first-half of the campaign but their form fell away during the run-in, allowing Manchester City to win a fifth title in six years.
‘Maybe this is going to sound harsh, but I honestly feel that Arsenal gave Manchester City the title,’ Gallas added.
‘Of course, we need to give credit to Manchester City for going on this unbelievable winning run and ramping up the pressure on Arsenal, but Arsenal gave it away.
‘Why did Arsenal give Manchester City the title? Because Arsenal were on top of the league. They had games in hand and didn’t take the opportunity to extend that lead at the top.
‘Arsenal were top of the league with eight or nine games to go and didn’t take advantage of the position they were in. They failed. They gave the title to Manchester City.’
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