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Mikel Arteta issues fierce defence of under-fire Arsenal star

Mikel Arteta has fiercely defended one of his Arsenal stars, and demanded that supporters show support, rather than criticism, for him despite his perceived sub-par patch of form of late.

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta

Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s UEFA Champions League (UCL) game against Bayern Munich tomorrow, Mikel Arteta has issued a fierce defence of an under-fire Gunners star.

After being substituted late on in Arsenal’s 2-0 home defeat against Aston Villa, Ukrainian defender Oleksandr Zinchenko was subjected to jeers from his own supporters, with many having criticised his recent performances.

But when asked about this, Arteta issued a fierce defence of his star, and insisted that the 27-year-old offers plenty of quality to the side.

Arteta and Zinchenko

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The Spaniard said: “We love Alex, he’s given us so much, he’s given us a lot and he’s up there with different qualities. He has an unbelievable courage to play football given the circumstances, and as well as the demands.”

He continued, with a message aimed directly at fans: “Stay with our players and support them because, for sure, they’re going to perform better.”

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Zinchenko has played 25 Premier League games for the Gunners so far this season and, while his offensive work has previously been hailed by fans, they have now begun to criticise him for his increasing number of mistakes.

One fan on X (formerly Twitter) said: “No wonder Pep got rid of [Joao] Cancelo and Zinchenko. Both liability at the back.”

At least for the time being, Zinchenko appears to have the full backing of his manager, so fans can only support him and hope for an upturn in form ahead of a crucial run of games for the Gunners’ season.

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