Arteta backs Arsenal players '100 per cent' over Liverpool fracas

Mikel Arteta backs his Arsenal players ‘100%’ over Sunday’s fracas with Liverpool after the FA launched an investigation into Gabriel and Jordan Henderson’s on-field spat at the Emirates

  • Arsenal picked up a 3-2 win over Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday
  • Tempers flared during the game, with Gabriel and Jordan Henderson clashing
  • The FA has since opened an investigation into the incident between the pair
  • But Mikel Arteta insists he ‘100 per cent’ supports his players’ version of events 

Mikel Arteta insists he ‘100 per cent’ backs his players’ version of Sunday’s fracas against Liverpool, which sparked an investigation by the FA.

Referee Michael Oliver spoke to both Arteta and Jurgen Klopp towards the end of Arsenal’s fractious 3-2 win, following a furious row involving players from both sides.

Jordan Henderson and Gabriel Magalhaes were at the centre of the argument.

It is understood the referee made the managers aware of something a player was alleged to have said to an opponent. Oliver took further observations from the players involved, too. 

Gabriel (right) and Jordan Henderson (left) clashed during Arsenal’s 3-2 win over Liverpool on Sunday, an incident which is now under investigation by the FA

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta insists he backs his players’ version of events ‘100 per cent’

Speaking in Norway ahead of Thursday’s Europa League clash with Bodo/Glimt, Arteta said he stood by his players’ account ‘100 per cent’ but refused to go into more detail – or reveal who had been spoken to. 

‘It’s something I don’t want to touch. It’s in the FA’s hands and I’m not going to get involved in that,’ Arteta said.

When pressed on whether he expects the investigation to rumble on, the Arsenal boss added: ‘I don’t know. It’s something that I don’t decide. I think timings are really difficult to predict. The FA is in charge of the situation and we’ll have to wait and see.’

Arsenal’s busy schedule continues against Bodo/Glimt on Thursday night.

Referee Michael Oliver informed both managers of an alleged comment made towards a player

They beat the Norwegian champions 3-0 at the Emirates a week ago but last year Jose Mourinho’s Roma were beaten 6-1 on Glimt’s artificial pitch above the Arctic Circle.

Mourinho later blamed the pitch for a knee injury to one of his players but Arteta refused to make the surface or the conditions an excuse. Captain Martin Odegaard said: ‘The biggest mistake we can make is to talk too much about the pitch, the weather or whatever. 

‘For us the most important thing is just to come here and win the game. That’s all that matters… obviously it’s a bit different and we have to adjust a little bit, but it’s still football, still the same rules.’ Odegaard is back in Norway for a first club game since he left for Real Madrid as a 16-year-old.

It is 10 years since his senior debut aged 13 and the midfielder believes he is currently playing the best football of his career. ‘I think so. I think I’ve developed a lot the last few years. I’ve always been good on the ball but I feel like I’m developing different sides of my game now as well without the ball and hope to improve and affect the game in different ways,’ the 23-year-old said.

Arsenal are set to take on Bodo/Glimt in the Europa League group stages on Thursday night

Gabriel Jesus has not travelled with Arsenal to Norway, while Oleksandr Zinchenko is expected to miss out through injury.

On his No 9, Arteta said: ‘We thought that with everything he has been through in the last few weeks we thought it was better that he was staying there… obviously Gabi is a player that gets involved in a lot of physical contact. It is the way he plays, that is in his nature.’

The Arsenal manager was also coy on comments by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang which emerged this week.

The former striker said Arteta could not manage big characters.

‘People are free to discuss what they want,’ Arteta said before adding on this season’s squad. ‘Phenomenal. I’ve never been in a better dressing room. More enjoyable, more hard working, better relationship with the staff to players and it’s an absolute pleasure to be a part of this group.’

They will be without Gabriel Jesus in Norway, who has been left behind due to fitness concerns

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