Arsenal labelled ‘appalling’ and ‘pathetic’ following Europa League exit by Villarreal as Andy Goldstein suggests it’s time for Mikel Arteta to go
The pressure is set to intensify on Mikel Arteta after Arsenal’s Europa League semi-final exit at the hands of Villarreal on Thursday night.
The goalless draw almost certainly guarantees that the Gunners will not be competing in Europe for the first time in 25 years next season – bar a spectacular turn of events in the Premier League.
And reacting to the 2-1 aggregate defeat on the Sports Bar, Andy Goldstein gave a damning assessment of the Gunners and believes the time has come for Arteta to leave the Emirates.
“Arsenal were nothing short of pathetic tonight,” he began. “Embarrassing, lack of ideas, lethargic, tactics were appalling, the manager was clueless in his team selection and his substitutions.
“From start to finish it was abysmal. It was absolutely rubbish tonight by Arsenal. They were absolutely appalling.
“They didn’t play any different during added on time than they did throughout the 90 minutes!
“They were lacklustre, they had no belief, they had no energy, they had no enthusiasm.”
Arteta’s decision to bench Gabriel Martinelli following an impressive display in a 2-0 win at Newcastle also bewildered Goldstein, as did Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s withdrawal for Alexandre Lacazette late on.
He continued: “I didn’t really understand the team selections either.
“When you’ve got someone like Martinelli who played really well at the weekend against Newcastle… why was he left on the bench and didn’t come on until 66 minutes?
“You’re desperate for a goal and you take Aubameyang off [for Lacazette] – play them both.”
With the Gunners currently lying ninth in the Premier League, Goldstein feels now it’s the time for the Spaniard to face the music and depart the Emirates.
He concluded: “I think Arteta’s trying to be a bit too clever. I think he’s got to go.
“I know there are Arsenal fans out there who will say give him time, but Arsenal are ninth in the Premier League. Arsenal are going backwards and tonight proved it.
“They will finish the season without silverware, they will finish the season without the Europa League, they will finish the season without the Champions League, they are now a mid-table side. They are appalling.”
Jason Cundy was in full agreement with Goldstein and let rip at a ‘pathetic’ Arsenal display.
“I actually wanted Arsenal to win the game,” the former Chelsea defender admitted.
“Tonight I have a little idea of how it feels to be a Gooner – and it stinks.
“That’s the biggest game of Arteta’s managerial career, he hasn’t been around long, and it was pathetic.
“That was a game you wanted to go out with an intensity to set a tone that continued throughout the game.
“Villarreal were too smart and too clever. Arsenal didn’t even look like scoring, bar Aubameyang’s header.”
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He continued: “That’s a missed opportunity, because they didn’t give it a go tonight.
“The way Arsenal played, certainly in the first half, was as though they wanted the draw as much as Villarreal did.
“There was a lack of fight, enterprise, creativity, energy… it just lacked everything you wanted to see in a game where your team needed to get a goal.
“They got what they deserved tonight and if I was a Gooner tonight they must be fuming.”
On Arteta, Cundy added: “I don’t know whether he knows what he’s doing.
“Based on that, the biggest game of his [managerial] career and the biggest game of their season, that was not a performance that showed me that they knew about that.
“There’s nothing substantial [there] that tells you that Arsenal are going in the direction that they need to go. They didn’t do themselves justice tonight.”