My player's are not arrogant, says Arteta
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta last night leapt to his players’ defence after Brighton striker Neal Maupay accused them of arrogance following a bad-tempered clash at the Amex Stadium.
The French striker emerged as the Seagulls’ match-winner, scoring an injury time winner to ease their relegation fears after Lewis Dunk cancelled out Nicolas Pepe’s opener.
But the clash — and Maupay in particular — was submerged in controversy after Gunners keeper Bernd Leno was carried off with a serious knee ligament injury following a contentious mid-air collision with the Brighton striker.
Leno was clearly furious with Maupay — who revealed he apologised to Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta at half-time — as he was carried off, angrily gesturing towards the Brighton star.
During the game, Matteo Guendouzi was caught throwing an arm at Maupay which could leave the Arsenal midfielder facing retrospective action from the FA, before the pair angrily clashed again during a mass confrontation between both sets of players after the final whistle.
The ugly scenes could leave both clubs in breach of the Premier League’s Covid-19 safety protocols that prohibit mass gatherings.
Maupay said: ‘I think the Arsenal players need to learn humility sometimes.
‘They have been talking a lot in the first half and in the second half when they were 1-0 up, they got what they deserved.
‘I don’t think Leno’s reaction was justified. At half-time I went to apologise to Mikel Arteta, I never meant to injure their keeper.
‘I jumped to get the ball and when he landed, he tweaked his knee.’ But in response to Maupay’s comments, Gunners boss Arteta said: ‘He can say what he wants but I know my players and one aspect they don’t lack is humility.’
Leno is now facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines amid fears he will miss the rest of the season.
But Arteta admonished Maupay of any fault, saying: ‘I believe no player has the intention to hurt anybody and I believe exactly the same in this case.
‘It was unfortunate. Yes, Bernd’s injury doesn’t look good, but things can happen on a football pitch. He was in a lot of pain.’
Brighton manager Graham Potter added: ‘The (injury) incident looked like a coming together, a bit innocuous. There is contact, but it’s not malicious — it’s just momentum. Our thoughts are with him.’Daily Mail