Arsenal fans weren’t really sure what to expect when they went toe to toe with Aston Villa this weekend, but in the end, they fell to another disappointing loss as their top six hopes – and especially top four hopes – continue to fade. There’s a long way to go this season but questions can and should still be asked of manager Mikel Arteta given the nature of these performances.
After the game, Arteta spoke with the media to address some of the lingering concerns that fans and pundits alike are starting to have.
On what he spoke to the officials about post-match:
I keep that between me and them.
On whether he was unhappy with a couple of decisions:
Again, I prefer to stay on mute on that.
On the performance in general:
It was a really strong performance again. We completely dominated the game, we dominated in every department and we should have won the game. But in the Premier League when you give a goal to the opponent – and we gave them another three opportunities – and you are not ruthless in the opponent’s box, you don’t win games. The rest, the way the team played and the energy that they showed, the quality they showed, the number of chances and situations we created, how quickly we regained the ball, how we controlled long balls, second balls and how aggressive we were in our duels, it was all incredible. But it wasn’t enough to win the game.
On whether he wants more ruthlessness from us:
Yes. If we are not, then we shouldn’t give anything to the opponent. That’s something we have to do better and it’s cost us two games in the last four days because we should have won both games.
On Thomas Partey:
He had a muscular injury so we had to take him off. He could not carry on playing.
On whether Partey’s injury is serious:
I don’t know. We will see the extent of the injury. He wasn’t feeling well enough to continue playing so we had to take him off.
On how big this setback is in terms of European qualification:
It’s a big blow because when you consider the performances that we’ve put in in both games, we’ve got zero points out of that. We just give the opponent the game. We need to come back. We’ve done it this season and we have to do it again. We have a week now to prepare for the next game against Leeds and then focus on that, keep maintaining all the right things we are doing and the way the team is evolving. We need to stop certain things that are costing us the games.
On whether there’s a lack of consistency with the Konsa incident:
As you could see, I was really animated for a few decisions and one big decision that I will not discuss here. It is what it is. It’s not an excuse. Regardless of the decisions, we have to win the game. It’s as simple as that.
On the mistakes made in the first two minutes:
Those [top-four] teams don’t make those mistakes. Those [top-four] teams cannot play four or five times in the first 22 games of the season with 10 men. It doesn’t happen. There’s not a team in the world that can sustain that. If you concede a goal early or make an error, the team has to react. The team reacted and we had more than enough to still come back and win the game. If you don’t do one thing, you have to do the other. If you are not ruthless enough in the opponent’s box then of course you are going to lose the game.
Quotes courtesy of Arsenal.com
What’s next for Mikel Arteta?