WATCH: Arsenal Manager Mikel Arteta and Watford Boss Have a Heated Argument Over Controversial Goal

Published 11/08/2021, 1:45 PM EST
Soccer Football – Premier League – Arsenal v Watford – Emirates Stadium, London, Britain – November 7, 2021 Watford manager Claudio Ranieri with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta after the match REUTERS/David Klein EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.


After years of struggle to replace Arsene Wenger, Arsenal are finally looking like the real deal again. Mikel Arteta has been a man under pressure since the start of the season with three losses. However, the Gunners are now on a 10-match unbeaten run.

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Most of it happened with key players returning to full fitness while recruiting talented players for low prices. But their most recent game against Watford was a difficult affair. Arsenal scored a controversial goal as Watford boss, Claudio Ranieri, disagreed with the decision by Arteta’s men.

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Ranieri disagrees with Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta

The incident happened during the 56th minute when Emile Smith Rowe scored the goal to put Arsenal in the lead. During the build-up, Arsenal midfielder Sambi Lokonga clashed with Ozan Tufan and this led Watford left-back Danny Rose to put the ball out of play. Normally, because of fair play, the team passes the ball back to the opposition, but Arsenal decided to play on.

After a series of passages in the play, Smith Rowe pounced upon a rebound from an opposition player tackle and slotted home a cool finish into the bottom right corner. This led to massive protests.

Likewise, during that passage of the play, Maitland-Niles blocked Ismaila Sarr, but VAR intervened and ruled out any problems. Watford lost the game 1-0 and newly appointed boss Ranieri looked frustrated after the match. Many interpretations and reactions have come out as pundits and managers discussed the issue.

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Different interpretations come to the forefront

Ranieri spoke after the game and gave his take on the situation.

“There is only one thing I’d like to know,” he said. “When there is a man on the ground, everybody expected the ball goes back and it didn’t go. There is a respect in that situation. Then we get the ball with Sarr and go on the counter-attack and there is a big foul. It’s unbelievable,” added Ranieri.

Soccer Football – Premier League – Arsenal v Watford – Emirates Stadium, London, Britain – November 7, 2021 Watford manager Claudio Ranieri with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta after the match REUTERS/David Klein EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

However, Arteta defended his players speaking how honest they were and did not find any problems with the team’s attitude.

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“He [Ranieri] mentioned it to me. I cannot think of any team that is as honest and sometimes naive as us. There is no bad intentions. If anything happened I apologise, I haven’t seen the action but he has that feeling. We compete the right way all the time,” said Arteta.

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Even though the goal was a controversial one, the Gunners deserved to win the match by putting in a professional performance. They leapfrogged Manchester United to 5th in the English Premier League table and look to be a club on the rise.

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Jacob Gijy

645 articles

Jacob Gijy is a US Sports and NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Gijy finished his Masters in Counselling Psychology and worked in a hospital for 2 years before his passion for sports compelled him to find his way to sports journalism. A fan of the great Tim Duncan, he is always ready to pick up a debate with anyone who does not offer the center the respect he deserves.

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