The push for top four
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was in a furious mood directly after watching his side lose 3-0 to north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Thursday night. Not only did the defeat seriously jeopardise the Gunners’ hopes of finishing in the top four, but it also came about through a dubious penalty awarded to Harry Kane and then a red card to defender Rob Holding.
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To say that Arteta placed the blame for such a defeat at the feet of the officials would be something of an understatement. “If I say what I think I am suspended six months,” said the Spanish manager in an interview with Sky Sports. “I am allowed to give my interpretation of what I thought, but I do not like to lie. I cannot say what I think, I will be suspended. I am so proud of my players, ask the referee to come here and explain his decisions. That’s his decision, such a beautiful game was destroyed here.”
The result now means that Arsenal sit just one point above Spurs in the English top flight, with a tricky trip to Newcastle coming before a home tie against Everton on the final day of the season. Spurs, in contrast, are set to face out-of-form Burnley before a final day clash with relegated Norwich. However, while Arteta may curse poor refereeing for his team’s slender lead over their rivals for a top four finish, come the end of the season he and his backroom staff at Arsenal may wish to look back over their team’s performances in key games and wonder whether points dropped against the other so-called ‘top six’ teams in the league are what really let them down.
Mikel Arteta wants to take Arsenal back to the top four
But how good is his managerial record against the other ‘top six’ sides in the Premier League? pic.twitter.com/Gog4tjDhJh
— Transfermarkt.co.uk (@TMuk_news) May 13, 2022
Arsenal’s record against the best – impressive or room for improvement?
Indeed, when we take a look over Arsenal’s record against the other traditional top six sides – Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City and the aforementioned Spurs – this season, we can perhaps see where Arteta’s team have come undone and why they haven’t yet comfortably secured a top four finish.
For example, in four games against Man City and Liverpool, Arsenal haven’t won a single clash this season and have lost all four with a worrying goal difference of -12. And against relatively lacklustre Man Utd and Chelsea teams, Arteta’s side have only managed to pick up six points from a possible 12. Add to that Thursday night’s defeat to Spurs and it points to an unenviable record of just three wins from 10 games. Which is nowhere near good enough if Arsenal hope to be counted among the best teams in England.