Arsenal no.2 urges players to be “smarter” after Man City defeat

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Albert Stuivenberg has urged Arsenal to play “smarter”and “learn” after they threw away a lead to lose at home to Manchester City on New Year’s Day.

Stuivenberg is Arsenal’s assistant manager but he led the team against City due to the Mikel Arteta having tested positive for Covid.

The Gunners no.2 will have been pleased with what he saw for the most part as his side went toe-to-toe with the Premier League leaders for 90 minutes.

But Arsenal shot themselves in the foot on more than one occasion.

First Granit Xhaka gave away a needless penalty by pulling the shirt of Bernardo Silva. That provided City with their equaliser and they were handed another boost moments later when Gunners defender Gabriel was sent off.

Gabriel’s red card came after he picked up two yellows within the space of 3 minutes.

When asked about the defender’s dismissal, Stuivenberg told BBC Sport: “It is something we have to learn. We have young players in the team and have to control our emotions.”

Gabriel received his first booking shortly after City were awarded their spot-kick. It appeared as though it may have been issued because he was spotted scuffing the penalty spot.

But Stuivenberg said: “I am not sure the first yellow is because of that, I cannot ask the question to the referee now. If you are on a yellow you have to be smarter.”

Arsenal felt that they should have had a penalty of their own when Ederson caught Martin Odegaard but referee Stuart Attwell did not see it that way.

Stuivenberg added: “I think it is a penalty but I am looking for consistency. We have VAR in place so why not check yourself as a referee? That did not happen so it is disappointing.

“We did really, really good, how many chances did they really create? Until the end, they have one lucky chance when it drops to them. The fans enjoyed our performance today. We had our chances, we had the big one at 1-1 with Gabriel Martinelli. It did not go our way but proud of the performance.”

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