Football: Arsenal's Arteta defends touchline 'passion' after Newcastle row

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has said it was all "passion" on the pitch after he was criticised for his volatile antics in the 0-0 Premier League draw with Newcastle. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON – Mikel Arteta has defended his “passion” on the touchline after the Arsenal manager was criticised for his volatile antics during Tuesday’s 0-0 Premier League draw against Newcastle United.

The Spaniard had an angry exchange with Newcastle boss Eddie Howe after referee Andrew Madley rejected the Gunners’ appeal for a stoppage-time penalty at the Emirates Stadium.

Arteta described the decision as “scandalous”, but on Friday the Premier League leaders were charged by the Football Association for failing to control their players after several surrounded Madley following the flashpoint in the stalemate. They have till Tuesday to respond.

It was not the first time Arteta has lost his cool during a game and former England captain and Magpies legend Alan Shearer labelled his antics as “disrespectful”.

But the Arsenal boss is adamant that he has no reason to apologise for his behaviour because he was only reacting to a crucial incident in the game.

“I am not part of that debate. Of course, they can have their opinions,” Arteta said on Saturday, ahead of his team’s FA Cup third-round clash at third-tier Oxford United on Monday.

“I try to do my best for this football club, to defend it, to promote it, and to play with the passion that the game has to be played in.

“Every game is special and every manager behaves very differently regarding the circumstances.

“And you can’t take the context out of a situation.

“That is not fair. That is me, here and on the pitch, for the good and the bad.”

Arteta was also asked if he was prepared to change his behaviour.

“That is me and I will try all the time to be better and whatever I do, it is to make the club stronger and my players better, to play better, and to win,” he said.

“But if I have to do something, I will do it, and if I have to change something, believe me, I will look in the mirror myself and change it very quickly.”

Despite the gulf between his high-flying side and Oxford who are in mid-table in League One, the Arsenal boss believes that Monday’s game will be difficult.

“From what we’ve seen they’ve played in different ways, and result-wise as well they’ve had a bit of everything,” Arteta said.

“It’ll be a very special night and everybody will raise their level and it will be tough.” 

He also said he is hoping for attacking midfielder Emile Smith Rowe to return from injury and play some part in the match.

The Englishman has been sidelined for a long time because of a troublesome groin injury.

The 22-year-old academy product had a breakout campaign last season with 10 league goals but has had limited game time this campaign with only four substitute appearances, the last of which came against Manchester United at the start of September.


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