Arteta defends Arsenal following bad tempered clash with Brighton

‘I know my players and they don’t lack humility’: Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta defends his side following bad tempered clash with Brighton… which saw Gunners star Matteo Guendouzi grab Neal Maupay by the throat

  • Arsenal players lost their temperament in a 2-1 defeat at Brighton
  • Matteo Guendouzi was caught grabbing Neal Maupay by the throat at full-time
  • Brighton’s match winner was involved in a first half collision with Bernd Leno
  • Leno was also left fuming with Maupay as he departed the field on a stretcher
  • Maupay later claimed the Arsenal players ‘needed to learn humility’

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta leapt to his players’ defence after Brighton striker Neal Maupay accused them of arrogance following a bad-tempered clash at the Amex Stadium.

The French striker emerged as the Seagulls’ match-winner, scoring a stoppage time winner to ease their relegation fears after Lewis Dunk equalised Nicolas Pepe’s sumptuous opener.

But the clash – and Maupay in particular – was submerged in controversy after Gunners keeper Bernd Leno was taken off on a stretcher with a serious knee ligament injury following a contentious mid-air collision with the Brighton striker.

MIkel Arteta has defended his Arsenal stars’ humility after their bad tempered loss at Brighton

Leno was clearly furious with Maupay – who revealed he apologised to Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta at half-time – as he was carried off, angrily gesturing towards the Brighton star.

During the game Matteo Guendouzi was caught throwing an arm at Maupay which could leave the Arsenal midfielder facing retrospective action from the FA before the pair angrily clashed again during a mass confrontation between both sets of players after the final whistle.

The ugly scenes could leave both clubs in breach of the Premier League’s Covid-19 safety protocols that prohibit mass gatherings, like the one at full-time.

Arsenal’s Matteo Guendouzi grabbed Brighton’s Neal Maupay by the throat at full-time 

Maupay said: ‘I think the Arsenal players need to learn humility sometimes.

‘They have been talking a lot in the first half and in the second half when they were 1-0 up – they got what they deserved.

‘I don’t think it (Leno’s reaction) was justified. At half time I went to apologise to Mikel Arteta I never meant to injure their keeper.

‘I just jumped to get the ball and when he landed he tweaked his knee. I apologise to the team and him as well. I never meant to hurt him.’

But in response to Maupay’s comments, Gunners boss Arteta said: ‘He can say whether he wants but I know my players and one aspect they don’t lack is humility.’

Earlier in the game, Gunners keeper Bernd Leno angrily confronted the forward after a collision between the pair left him departing the pitch on a stretcher

Nevertheless, Leno is now facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines amid fears he will miss the rest of the season, if not longer, with knee ligament damage.

But Arteta admonished Maupay of any fault, saying: ‘I believe no player has the intention to hurt anybody and I believe exactly the same in this case.

‘It was unfortunate. Yes, Bernd’s injury doesn’t look good, we have to assess it but things can happen on a football pitch. He was in a lot of pain.’

Brighton manager Graham Potter added: ‘When you concede a last minute goal, emotions are raw for both teams. The (injury) incident looked like a coming together of players, a bit innocuous. There is contact, but it’s not malicious – it’s just momentum. Our thoughts are with him and we wish him a speedy recovery.’

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