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Arsenal must cut out indiscipline or kiss goodbye to Champions League hopes, says Mikel Arteta

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Arsenal beat Wolves 1-0 last night to move up to fifth in the Premier League, but they had to fight to claim all three points after Gabriel Martinelli was sent off with 20 minutes to go.

The winger was given two yellow cards in a matter of seconds after first pushing Daniel Podence when he took a throw-in, and then bringing down Chiquinho as Wolves tried to counter.

It means Arsenal have now amassed 15 red cards since Arteta was appointed in December 2019, while they have also already had four dismissals in just six matches since the turn of the year.

The Gunners managed to get away with it last night, with Gabriel’s first-half goal securing the three points, but Arteta has told his side they cannot let the lack of discipline continue.

“I’m extremely proud of them, but we have to stop doing that,” said Arteta.

“We’ve played four of the last six games with 10 men and to win football matches in this league is very, very difficult and with 10 men it’s almost impossible.

“If we want to have any chance of getting to the objectives that we want, we have to continue to play the 16 games with 11 players.”

The fact Arsenal have had 15 red cards under Arteta underlines their issue with discipline. Southampton have had the second most in that same time, but their total of seven is under half of the Gunners’.

Getty Images

Arteta has described the situation as “very worrying”, but he was also unhappy with referee Michael Oliver’s decision to send Martinelli off last night.

The Arsenal boss is now seeking talks with PGMOL, the governing body for referees, about that and other decisions this season.

“If you ask me if I’m happy with the decisions we’ve had this season, I’m not at all,” he said.

“But that’s a conversation I will have privately with the officials. We need explanations, we need explanations with what happened in VAR and I need explanations with what happened today. They are going to happen soon.

“To be fair, it’s the first time I’ve seen a red card like this in 18 years that I’ve been in this league. I think you have to be pretty willing to give a red card in that situation. But still it happened.

“We know that playing with 10 men in this league you’re not going to get points, enough points, the points that we want and we have to stop it.”

Despite going down to 10 men, Arsenal managed to hold firm and they are now one point off West Ham in fourth, with two games in hand.

Arteta was pleased with the way his team fought and, despite a late onslaught from Wolves, they did not crumble.

Arsenal FC via Getty Images

“I keep telling you guys how close they are, how much they like to play together, the unity and togetherness around that dressing room and how willing they are to defend that shirt every single match,” he said.

“I really mean it when I say that and today was another example. I think we have so many and that’s why I’m proud to be the coach of these players.”

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