Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta scalded by Graeme Souness

Guardiola outlines how Man City can chase down Arsenal in title race

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Former Liverpool and Rangers star Graeme Souness has laid into Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta for his antics during a draw with Newcastle United this week. Some have theorised that the Gunners boss is already feeling the pressure of a title race with Manchester City, who remain five points behind. 

Before kick-off against the Magpies on Tuesday, Arsenal had made a perfect Premier League restart following the World Cup in Qatar. Wins against West Ham and Brighton kept them on course to pip City to their first league title since 2003/04. 

Although it is still in their hands, the Gunners slipped up at home to Newcastle as they were held to a goalless draw despite dominating possession and shots on goal. Arteta appeared to be feeling the heat late on as he angrily paraded up and down the touchline before giving the fourth official an earful. 

Souness, who has plenty of managerial experience at the top level, compared Arteta’s temperament to iconic former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and claims that the Spaniard will be embarrassed by his actions.

“Every manager is two different people,” Souness wrote in The Daily Mail. “There is the guy who is winning, and the guy who is not. Sir Alex Ferguson was absolutely charming after a game, as long as he had won. If he hadn’t, he was a boiling head of frustration.

“Mikel Arteta would have felt like that this week, embarrassed by some of his behaviour during Arsenal’s goalless draw at home to Newcastle on Tuesday. I am not even sure what he was getting so excited about, there was nothing greatly controversial.

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“Rather, what we are seeing is a young manager who has shown he is finding Arsenal’s position at the top of the Premier League more and more difficult to deal with. The pressure is mounting and his conduct at times this season has been very different to the previous three years.

“He knows he suddenly has a great chance of winning the league and that brings out a different side, sometimes a not-so-nice side, and certainly one we did not see during Arteta’s playing career, when he was never overly aggressive.”

The Gunners were visibly fired up at home to the Magpies and a host of players surrounded the referee late on after being denied two penalty appeals. Arteta referred to the calls as ‘scandalous’ and Arsenal have subsequently been punished for failing to control their stars. 

An FA spokesperson said: “Arsenal FC has been charged with a breach of FA Rule E20.1 following its Premier League match against Newcastle United FC on Tuesday, 3 January 2023. It’s alleged that Arsenal failed to ensure its players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion during the 95th minute, and the club has until Tuesday, 10 January 2023 to respond.”

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