Arteta: ‘Arsenal have come a long way since Anfield drubbing’

Mikel Arteta insists he ‘liked a lot of things’ during Arsenal’s 3-2 defeat at Manchester United on Thursday evening.

The Gunners took the lead in unusual circumstances. Emile Smith Rowe volleyed home with United goalkeeper David De Gea down injured in the middle of the goal.

Smith Rowe’s goal stood as De Gea was caught on the foot by his team-mate Fred, with referee Martin Atkinson not blowing his whistle until after the ball went in.

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Cristiano Ronaldo bagged a brace for the Red Devils to go alongside Bruno Fernandes’ first-half equaliser.

Martin Odegaard scored an equaliser himself before giving away a penalty for Ronaldo to win the game for the hosts.

“It is what it is,” Arteta told Amazon (via BBC). “If you concede three goals at Old Trafford it is difficult to get a result. I was disappointed with the goals that we conceded.

“We’ve come a long way since the game at Anfield [4-0 defeat]. We were able to maintain higher periods for longer. When we were in control we had a better structure and created chances. When it was 2-2 we needed to build momentum to get the win.

“There were a lot of things that I liked In the game. I liked the behaviour of individuals. When you score two goals at Old Trafford you expect to get something from the game and that is a regret, but that is our fault. When you see the game you would say we deserved more but that is what happens against this quality of opponent.”

On Smith Rowe’s goal, the Spanish manager said: “I’ve never seen anything like that, no. That is the decision from the referee and VAR checked it and it was a goal.”

Following the match, Michael Carrick stepped down as a first-team coach at Old Trafford following his spell as caretaker manager.

Carrick enjoyed a terrific playing career with United before taking up a coaching role following his retirement in 2018.

The former midfielder said in a club statement: “My time at this great club will always rank as the best years of my career. When I first signed over 15 years ago, I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined winning so many trophies and I will certainly never forget the fantastic memories both as a player and as a member of the coaching team.”

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