Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has had his say on fans, pundits and the media’s criticism of Runar Alex Runarsson.
The Gunners will be without Bernd Leno this weekend after the German got himself a red card on Tuesday. January signing Maty Ryan hasn’t returned to training yet and he is a big doubt for the game this weekend.
That leaves Runarsson who is now expected to start against Aston Villa. The Iceland international joined Arsenal at the start of the season as Emi Martinez’s replacement.
He has played seven times for us so far, but fans only remember what he did in the game against Manchester City in the League Cup earlier in the season.
Runarsson received a ton of criticism from fans and the media for his howler that cost us the game. Arteta was asked about the situation and the Arsenal boss admitted that people have been overly critical of the Iceland international, but claimed that it is normal at a big club like ours.
Arteta: Runarsson should learn to handle the pressure
He said, as per Arsenal.com: “Yes (people have been too critical of Alex), but this is what you face when you play for a big club. People expect when you go out there to give your best and perform at the top level. If you don’t, you’re going to get that criticism.
“You know that before you joined the club that you’ll be exposed to critics all the time, and if you do really well, people will be praising you more than at any other club. If you want to play here, you have to be able to handle that pressure.
“He works really hard and he’s fitting in really well around the dressing room. He’s a really nice boy, really humble and he needs to be away from all the comments to focus on his work and improving.”
Arsenal Insider’s view
If Arteta had a choice between Ryan and Runarsson, he would go with the former every single time. The Aussie international has a ton of experience at the top level, and he would’ve been a reliable option in Leno’s absence.
Sadly, it seems like the Arsenal boss has no choice. Runarsson showed against Wolves when he came on that he has the tendency to panic when he is put under pressure. He has already made a massive error and that will likely be on his mind.
However, he has to put that behind him. Runarsson needs to go into the game with a point to prove. If he can do well, Arteta will start to trust him again, and that will benefit his future massively.