Mikel Arteta rallied in defense of Jorginho after his error handed Tottenham their second equaliser in a thrilling North London Derby. One might question, however, whether the Arsenal manager could have done more to protect his midfielder during the game with the same ferocity he did in the Emirates Stadium media room.
Introduced as a half-time replacement for the injured Declan Rice, Jorginho allowed the ball to get trapped under his feet as James Maddison applied pressure in the 55th minute. When Spurs stole possession they found themselves charging at William Saliba, who could do nothing when Maddison rolled the ball across to Son Heung-min to stroke past David Raya.
Coming just 98 seconds after Bukayo Saka had restored the hosts’ lead from the penalty spot, Jorginho’s error came as an almighty momentum check for the Emirates Stadium.
Asked to reflect on what had happened in that decisive moment, Arteta was forceful. “What happened is I love him and we love him,” he said, adding: “Errors are part of football. They’re allowed to make errors because they play and we don’t play. For us, it’s really easy, but if there is someone who is willing to help the team and do the most of it, it’s Jorgi. We are all with him.”
That backing was reflected by the Emirates Stadium crowd, who began chanting the Italian’s name before play had even resumed.