Mikel Arteta says he's singled out for punishment after touchline ban

Mikel Arteta claims he is singled out for punishment more than other Premier League managers as he laments watching feisty Aston Villa clash from the stands

  • Head coach received a touchline ban after picking up a third yellow card
  • Arteta will be absent from the dugout when Arsenal visit Aston Villa on Saturday
  • It will do Arsenal no harm at all to have Arteta out of sight at Villa Park – It’s All Kicking Off 

Mikel Arteta claims he is being singled out for punishment and that the rules on managers leaving their technical areas are not being applied consistently across the Premier League.

The Arsenal boss is banned from the touchline for the league leaders’ trip to in-form Aston Villa on Saturday evening, after receiving his third yellow card of the season for leaving the technical area to celebrate Declan Rice’s 97th-minute winner at Luton on Tuesday.

But Arteta says he is not the only culprit. ‘We are allowed to celebrate but we have a boundary,’ he said. ‘Maybe we have to extend it. We just need a very strong rope, or we don’t move. But it means we don’t move — all of us.’

Asked if other managers were getting away with similar infringements, he replied: ‘That’s why I said “we”.’

Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi ran right across the pitch after his team’s win at Nottingham Forest two weeks ago, but was not punished.

Mikel Arteta picked up a booking against Luton after celebrating Declan Rice’s last minute winner

The Gunners boss suggested that he is being singled out for his celebrations, and that he is not the only manager in the Premier League to do so 

Roberto De Zerbi celebrated Brighton’s win at Nottingham Forest exuberantly on the pitch 

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Arteta could face another touchline ban as he awaits the outcome of an FA charge for calling the match officials a ‘disgrace’ following Arsenal’s 1-0 win at Newcastle on November 4.

Reflecting on his celebration at Luton, he said: ‘If I was given the opportunity to celebrate, no I wouldn’t stop.

‘I would like to be with my players because we work closely every single day to win the games and when you get those moments in sport, you should be able to do that.

‘I don’t know how to stop it. It was a really emotional moment with everybody bouncing around and you lose sense of where you are and the space you have to be in.

‘It was unfortunate as now I cannot be next to my team on the touchline.’

Unai Emery, Arteta’s predecessor at Arsenal and his direct rival on Saturday, says Villa supporters can dare to dream of a special season as they chase a club-record 15th home league win in a row.

Emery’s team are third in the Premier League table, four points adrift of the Gunners, following Wednesday’s statement victory over Treble winners Manchester City.

Villa have the same number of points, 32, as Leicester at this stage of the Foxes’ miracle title season of 2015-16.

And asked if it is time for the club’s fans to dream, Emery replied: ‘Of course, we have to dream always.

‘I am dreaming and sometimes my dreams are very important for me as it’s an aspiration to do my best.’

Emery warned Villa cannot dwell on their dominant display against City for too long, because they must still be in contention next spring to be taken seriously.

‘All praise now is important for us but it cannot distract us in our objectives,’ he said.

‘We can wait until matchday 30 or 32 and if we are in the top four in that moment, we can then think, “Maybe”.

‘We will then be contenders to be there. We have to be focused.’

He also recognised the biggest challenge Villa have yet faced, with Arsenal in the Midlands looking to maintain their place at the summit.

Aston Villa are led by former Arsenal boss Unai Emery, who has propelled the club into third

Villa are on a run of 14 consecutive wins at Villa Park, with Man City their most recent victims

‘We played very well against Manchester City but we must stay at this level,’ he said.

‘The match before was Bournemouth and we were very close to losing (Ollie Watkins’ late header earned a 2-2 draw).

‘We are confident at home and are feeling strong at Villa Park, but this is really the biggest challenge we are going to face yet.

‘We are playing the best team of this season in the Premier League.’


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