Mikel Arteta’s words after Arsenal’s defeat to Tottenham had a similar feel to Jose Mourinho’s ‘If I speak I’m in big trouble’ interview with the Gunners boss making a series of cryptic comments.

The race for fourth was blown wide open as Spurs inflicted a 3-0 hammering on their north London rivals at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Arsenal were deservedly beaten by their local rivals

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Arsenal were deservedly beaten by their local rivals

Will Arteta’s men fall out of the top four before the end of the season?

AFP

Will Arteta’s men fall out of the top four before the end of the season?

It was a disastrous evening for the Gunners, who fell behind through Harry Kane’s penalty early on after Cedric Soares was adjudged to have barged over Heung-min Son.

Meanwhile, Kane’s close range finish just before the break and Son’s strike early in the second half sealed the points and bragging rights for Antonio Conte’s men.

Whether the penalty should’ve been given has divided opinion but Arteta kept his views very closely to his chest.

“If I say what I think I’m suspended for six months,” Arteta told Sky Sports.

“I am allowed to give my interpretation of what happened. I don’t know how to lie and I don’t like lying so I prefer not to say what I think.”

Pressed further on if he’s unhappy with any of the decisions made by referee Paul Tierney, he responded: “I cannot say what I think. I will be suspended.

It was a strange interview by Arteta, who gave very little away

sky sports

It was a strange interview by Arteta, who gave very little away

“We should ask the referee to come in front of the camera and explain his decisions… it’s a shame because such a beautiful game was destroyed today.”

The match also saw Rob Holding get sent off on 33 minutes for two fouls on Son. Few could disagree with Holding’s decision there.

But when asked about Holding’s red card, Arteta stated: “The decision is made. We cannot change it.

“The referee has to make a decision in every action in football.”

Holding was guilty of playing the occasion rather than the game

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Holding was guilty of playing the occasion rather than the game

And when asked about whether he was unhappy with his players, Arteta said: “With my players, no. I’m so proud of my players.”

Arteta’s conduct hasn’t sat too well with Antonio Conte, who accused the Spaniard of ‘complaining a lot.’

Conte told journalists: “I listen to him complaining a lot. I think he has to be more focused on his team and not complaining.

“He has just started his work and I think that he has to be calm. He is very good but to listen to a coach complain a lot of times is not good.”

Will Arteta take Conte’s ‘advice’ on board?

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Will Arteta take Conte’s ‘advice’ on board?

Things went from bad to worse for Arsenal late in the second half as centre-back Gabriel going off with what looked like a hamstring injury in the second half.

This means they are without the suspended Holding for their final two matches of the season, and could be without Gabriel and Ben White for their trip to Newcastle on Monday and their clash at home to Everton on the final day.

Asked why White wasn’t brought on, Arteta said: “To take the risk in the situation didn’t make any sense. We now focus on Newcastle [on Monday], this game is history.”

And on Gabriel’s injury, he added: “He felt something so hopefully Ben will be fit and hopefully Gabi will recover because if not obviously we don’t have enough players in the back line.”

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