Mikel Arteta has refused to use the protests that took place before Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat to Everton as an excuse for his side’s poor performance.
The Gunners lost a low-quality match courtesy of a late Bernd Leno own goal, but could count themselves somewhat unlucky after having a penalty for a foul on Dani Ceballos ruled out by VAR for a marginal Nicolas Pepe offside in the build-up.
The game though was overshadowed by events beforehand when up to 5,000 supporters gathered outside the stadium to demonstrate against the club’s American owners and their decision to sign Arsenal up to the European Super League earlier this week.
The protests carried on into the game, and could be heard throughout the first half, but Arteta wasn’t willing to blame them on his side’s defeat.
“No, we knew that that was happening,” he said of the protests.
“We knew that our fans wanted to express their feelings and we made preparations with that in mind. That’s not an excuse.
“We lost the game because when we had to define the game in the crucial moments when we had the openings, the chances were not clear chances that we wanted. We didn’t do that.
“Then we concede an own goal. And obviously when we earned the right to score, with the decisions, that was taken away.”
The relationship between Arsenal’s fans and the Kroenke’s was already poor but is now at an all-time low after the events of the past week.
Speaking after the game Arteta admitted it would take a while before supporters’ bond with their team would be restored to the levels seen before the Super League fiasco.
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“Well, I think it’s a relationship that has to come together from both parties,” he said.
“Some probably giving some opportunities and the other ones showing that they want to be closer to them. I talk about what my experience is, what my relationship is with them and how involved they are.
“Now my biggest challenge as well is get them in the stadium as quick as possible. Inside the stadium and show that passion and that togetherness and unity with the team because the team is desperate for them to be together with us.”