Arsenal fans fume at two Mikel Arteta decisions for West Ham clash as star snubbed again


Arsenal supporters are not happy with two of Mikel Arteta’s decisions for their Premier League showdown with West Ham. The Gunners host their fellow London club at the Emirates this afternoon looking to close the gap to the Champions League spots, with Chelsea eight points ahead and fifth-placed Manchester United five points ahead.

But fans are not fully satisfied with Arteta’s line-up, with Sokratis Papastathopoulos starting at right-back.

The Greek defender is predominantly a centre-half but starts on the right side of defence for the fourth time, having done so in the FA Cup win over Portsmouth on Monday night when he scored Arsenal’s first goal.

And with first-choice right-back Hector Bellerin on the bench, there is again no room in the match-day 18 for Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

The England youth international has sparsely featured in recent weeks under Arteta, this the fourth consecutive Premier League match-day squad in which he has been left out.

And those two decisions irked a mass of Arsenal fans on social media.


Another tweeted: “Apart from Sok at rb I’m happy with that. AINSLEY NEEDS TO PLAY.”

A third said: “Sokratis at rb scares me.”

“AMN RB I BEG,” said another, while a fifth declared: “Sokratis is not a right back.”


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One fan wrote: “No Niles at all? Lol Arteta treating players like Emery did.”

“The f***, sokratis right back again???” asked one, while another said similarly: “Why the f is Sokratis at RB? Is Arteta mad.”

Another warned Arteta: “Why the f*** is sokratis at right back again, that experiment will cost us with time. Regardless we move #COYG.”

While this supporter posted: “Are you crazy Mikel? If Bellerin wasn’t starting, surely you could have given AMN a go at RB. Come on!”

Elsewhere, Pablo Mari makes his Premier League debut at centre back alongside David Luiz with Bukayo Saka once again at left-back.

In midfield, Granit Xhaka partners Dani Ceballos while Mesut Ozil lines up as the team’s No 10.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe flank the German with Eddie Nketiah leading the line.

Previewing the clash, Arteta said: “They caused a lot of problems to big teams recently. I know David [Moyes] because I worked with him for seven years.

“I know his structure, I know how organised he is. I am sure he’ll put a team out there that is going to make life very difficult for us.

“They will compete, they will be physical. We need to use our resources, play our game and then just think about performing. That performance will bring the points home.”

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