Mikel Arteta defended Arsenal’s delaying tactics at corners following complaints from Gary Neville during the Gunners’ hardfought win over Everton.
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Leandro Trossard’s 69th minute goal ultimately proved decisive as Arteta’s side recorded a first win at Goodison Park since 2017 when Arsene Wenger was still at the helm.
The decisive moment came following a short corner routine which took 26 seconds to instigate and ultimately culminated in the Belgium international rifling the ball beyond Jordan Pickford via the inside of the post, having been teed up by Bukayo Saka.
It appeared a deliberate ploy by Arsenal who had been reluctant to play the ball into the penalty area given the size of Everton’s defenders, but the time they took over their set-piece routines drew the ire of Neville.
‘I just asked how long that ball was in the corner for and apparently it took 26 seconds to take that short corner, which is an absolute mountain of time,’ he said.
‘Particularly in this climate with the referees trying to pick up on everything but it worked.
‘You saw Mikel Arteta and the coaching team start to celebrate because it’s worked, so they must’ve been working on it in training.’
Asked to justify the delaying tactics that helped draw Everton out of position and create the space for the decisive moment, Arteta told Sky Sports: ‘Obviously they are very strong in the box so we need alternatives.
‘It’s about creating a story in the game an’d the players have to sense when is the best moment to do it.’
Arsenal’s title bid began to unravel in the Blue half of Merseyside back in February and Arteta was delighted to have avenged that defeat with a robust if not eye-catching performance.
He added: ‘We talked about it, this is the challenge. For six years we haven’t won here and there are a few reasons for it.
‘It’s how you do things and the input you do in every single action. I think we played an incredible game, we kept them quiet and created many, many chances, The first (disallowed) goal, as well, should be allowed.
‘We dominated the game and we are extremely happy to go away with a win and a clean sheet.’
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