Arsenal and Mikel Arteta have not just made a brilliant start to the new season but have ruffled the feathers of a certain Richard Keys in the process.
Keys, who fronted Sky Sports’ coverage of the Premier League between 1992 and 2011, is now working in Qatar for beIN SPORTS and has been critical of Arsenal and their manager on a number of occasions.
And the Gunners faithful have ridiculed and mocked Keys in equal measure, creating the season’s earliest and most delicious mutual hatred.
We can imagine the hairy-handed one licking his lips as Arsenal slipped to defeat at Manchester United, ruining their 100% record in the Premier League, while the Emirates crowd will surely dedicate a song to Keys in the near future.
In this spirit, we’ve taken a closer look at the roots of Keysie’s grudge against the Gunners and their current manager.
Despite his immense career, Ozil was little more than a Fortnite enthusiast by October 2020 and Arteta was intent on freezing the playmaker out of his first team squad.
But, with Arsenal struggling at the wrong end of the Premier League table, Keys used his extensive managerial experience to offer Arteta some advice on player management.
“I don’t think you need to get to this stage,” he told beIN SPORTS viewers. “The thing that upsets me is that Arteta, particularly, there is better ways to deal with it than that.”
While Andy Gray, unexpectedly cast as the voice of reason, opined his feeling that “the bridges were burnt between Arteta and Ozil,” Keys somehow resisted the urge to speculate on how Sam Allardyce would’ve dealt with the situation.
The wrong man
Yes, we’ll give Keysie this one; it was strange that Arsenal chose Arteta over Carlo Ancelotti in December 2019 especially given the latter’s success with Real Madrid.
But it was also clear that Arsenal wanted a longer-term manager to completely revitalise their club. And Ancelotti did leave Everton up sh*t creek without a paddle when he left for Spain last summer.
Perhaps Arsenal made the right decision overall. Just don’t expect Keys to believe a word that comes out of your brain-washed mouth.
Irritating? What could Keys possibly find irritating about a rich, talented, respected and conventionally handsome man like Arteta?
Well, his disregard of technical area etiquette, if his reaction to Arteta’s behaviour during their victory over Manchester United in April 2022 is anything to go by.
This was the moment, above all others, when Keys’ vendetta took a personal turn and the rest of us began stockpiling popcorn in anticipation of what would happen next.
Having made it clear that Arteta’s mere existence irked him, Keys relished the opportunity to stick the boot in following Arsenal’s crucial defeat at Tottenham in May.
The 3-0 reverse, that’d ultimately cost the Gunners a Champions League place, saw Keys label Arteta as ‘mini-me’ alluding to the fact that he believed the Arsenal boss to be nothing more than a second-rate Pep Guardiola. Meow.
“Steady, it’s Fulham,” Keys said to Gray, during beIN SPORTS’ post-match coverage of Arsenal’s 2-1 victory. “And they trailed at one time.
“Yeah, well played, you came back to win it and they keep their 100 per cent record intact. But they haven’t won the [Premier League] title tonight. They have won a London derby.
“They’re four games into the season. Look at the manager. I can’t hide the fact I find him extremely irritating, waving his arms around like a windmill for 90 minutes, as if anybody can hear him.
“Enjoy it, but I don’t understand this. They’ve beaten Fulham. They’ve won nothing. They’ve over celebrated this.”
Richard had spoken. Settle down, everybody.
As Xabi Alonso can testify, Nigel de Jong isn’t one to pull out of a challenge. So, when Keys attempted to backtrack slightly after his Fulham rant, the former Netherlands midfielder held the knitted puppet to account in characteristic style.
Don’t believe us? Just soak in 150 seconds of Keys getting his backside handed to him. Even Gray joins in.
As funny as this was, you can imagine Keys reacting to the news with a nauseating amount of self-satisfaction. Even from Qatar, he’d managed to get underneath the skin of an entire fanbase and drag them down to his level.
And the 65-year-old couldn’t resist another jab in the ribs of Gunners enthusiasts just over 24 hours later.
Never a man to let things go quietly, Keysie unleashed this zinger after Arsenal’s failure to sign Douglas Luiz on deadline day.
Also, it’s worth noting this was his attempt at self-deprecating humour. Jesus.
Technical area. Again.
Just like England in countless major tournaments, Arsenal lost against the first half-decent opposition they’d faced all season as United administered a 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford.
But, like a clockwork toy gamely carrying out his duties despite being mauled by a cat, Keys stuck to his guns and called out Arteta’s inclination to go walkies on the touchline once again.
Expect a dossier, complete with diagrams and screenshots, on the FA’s desk by the end of today.
READ MORE: Seven Arsenal players Piers Morgan has ripped into – & how they bit back
The article Analysing Richard Keys’ vendetta against Arsenal and Mikel Arteta appeared first on Planetfootball.com.