You want passion and emotion – Mikel Arteta won’t curtail Arsenal celebrations
Mikel Arteta is not about to stop his Arsenal players from celebrating as he told critics they should “go to church” if they castigate such outpourings of emotion.
The Gunners escaped Football Association charges after exuberant celebrations followed their dramatic comeback win over Bournemouth last weekend, a result which restored their five-point lead at the top of the Premier League.
It is not the first time Arsenal have drawn scorn for their full-time reaction, while Arteta has been singled out for his touchline demeanour several times this season.
But the Spaniard insists he will not rein in his squad if they seal a similar result at Fulham on Sunday as they push for a first league title in 19 years.
Asked if he had any concerns his players were out of control, Arteta replied: “None. If you win in football you celebrate.
“You want passion and emotion, my friend there is nothing better than scoring goals and winning football matches. So if not, you go to church.
“For sure I won’t be telling the players not to celebrate on Sunday.”
You want passion and emotion, my friend there is nothing better than scoring goals and winning football matches. So if not, you go to church.
Arteta is hoping a number of his players will be available for the London derby at Craven Cottage after illness struck.
Captain Martin Odegaard travelled to Lisbon for the midweek 2-2 Europa League draw at Sporting but could not play after feeling under the weather.
Kieran Tierney, Reiss Nelson and Fabio Vieira have all felt unwell in recent days, with Arteta keeping his fingers crossed.
He said: “Obviously we lost Martin. He could not make the game. And Kieran, and the injured players. Hopefully nobody else picks it up and we have a full squad to face Fulham. I hope (Odegaard) will be fine.”
It is much more unlikely that Gabriel Jesus will feature in west London.
The Brazil striker is working his way back to fitness after undergoing knee surgery and was originally scheduled to travel to Portugal with the squad.
The PA news agency understands Arsenal originally intended to travel back on Friday after a light training session in Lisbon.
Those plans were changed after the reports of illness, with the squad instead returning to London on Thursday night.
The travel alteration also meant Jesus did not head to Portugal as Arteta saw no value in taking the forward out to Portugal.
“Let’s see,” Arteta replied when asked if Jesus could be part of his plans at Fulham.
“He will have only one more training session and he really needs to feel confident and ready to go. He has a big say on that.”
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