Darren Bent accuses Mikel Arteta of ‘arrogant’ team selections after Chelsea draw

'There are certain decisions where I go, 'is he doing that to prove he's right?'.'

Darren Bent accuses Mikel Arteta of ‘arrogant’ team selections after Chelsea draw
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta appears to be reluctant to replicate his successful strategy with Arsenal, says Darren Bent (Getty)

Darren Bent has accused Mikel Arteta of being ‘arrogant’ with his team selections after Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea.

The Gunners were forced to battle back from two goals down at Stamford Bridge on Saturday as Leandro Trossard’s equaliser from Bukayo Saka’s excellent cross earned them a point.

But Bent believes Arteta made a mistake in picking both Saka and Gabriel Martinelli for the game against Chelsea due to the injury concerns surrounding the two wingers.

Bent, who supports Arsenal, has also questioned Arteta’s call to play Thomas Partey at right-back at the start of the season, as well as the decision to sign Kai Havertz in a £65 million deal from Chelsea.

‘There have been times where I think Arteta has been a little bit arrogant in the way he’s picked his teams,’ Bent told Premier League Productions.

‘I mean, I don’t think Martinelli looked particularly fit [against Chelsea], I don’t think Saka looked fit, and I don’t know if they’re still carrying knocks but they just didn’t look like they had the same pop they usually have when they get the ball.

Thomas Partey of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Nottingham Forest
Darren Bent is keen to see Thomas Partey play in Arsenal’s midfield alongside Declan Rice and Martin Odegaard (Getty)

‘But certainly in midfield, when you look at the Thomas Partey situation for instance, now he was brilliant last season, had injuries towards the end and wasn’t the same after that but it’s almost like you want to see Rice, Partey and Odegaard.

‘We saw it against Manchester City towards the end and they controlled the game, it looked a lot calmer. But for whatever reason Mikel Arteta doesn’t want to play that three, okay, that’s fair enough.

‘The whole goalkeeper situation [with Raya and Ramsdale], even at times at the start of the season where he put Ben White at centre-back rather than putting Partey in his natural position, and putting Partey at right-back at times.

‘It’s almost like he’s reluctant to do what got him success last season.

‘Now I’m not saying he’s an arrogant manager but there are certain decisions where I go, ‘is he doing that to prove he’s right?’.

‘Kai Havertz with that signing, for instance. I think that £65 million could have been spent elsewhere. I’m not saying he’s not a good player because he is. But £65m on a player who Chelsea deemed wasn’t good enough, to put him straight in and have him starting over other players, that’s another decision I’m a little bit like, ‘I can’t understand what he sees from that decision’.’

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