Arteta Rally Arsenal Players After Damaging Loss To Aston Villa

Adoga Stephen By Adoga Stephen - Editor-In-Chief
4 Min Read

After a tough loss to Aston Villa on Sunday, Mikel Arteta has motivated his Arsenal team to bounce back.

The late goals from Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins led to the Gunners’ first Premier League defeat since losing to Fulham on New Year’s Eve.

This defeat also helped Villa’s chances of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.

“We’re obviously very disappointed with the result, especially with the way we have been performing,” Arteta told BBC Sport.

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“The first half was one of the best halves we have played this season against a top team.

“In the second half, the game changes, we struggle to gain momentum, we struggle to get the ball into certain areas and we were very sloppy with the ball, and the game was there with not much happening.

“A few corners for them and then we concede a very poor goal and then, on top of that, we were chasing it and then we concede another one and it was a painful loss.”

Despite the outcome, Arteta was pleased with many aspects of Arsenal’s performance and emphasized the importance of quickly recovering.

“I think we played much better than we did against Brighton in the first half. Much better. I think we should have scored three, four, five goals in the first half and that would have been a very different game,” he explained.

“That’s not the case and we have to accept that and we have to praise the opponent, they beat us and we have to move. It is about reacting now.

“For sure, because we had the momentum and we were the better team on the pitch, but you have to play for 96-98 minutes and we haven’t managed to maintain that level in the second half, and that is down to us and we have to improve.”

Manchester City emerged as the day’s biggest winners without even playing, thanks to their 5-1 victory over Luton Town on Saturday. This result, combined with Liverpool’s 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace, has propelled Pep Guardiola’s team to the top of the table, now leading by two points.

Arsenal will play against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals next. The match is currently tied at 2-2 after playing at the Emirates on Tuesday.

After that, they will play against Wolverhampton Wanderers in a domestic match next Saturday.

Asked if his team needs to win every game now, he responded: “We all know that, the impact is now. How you react to that, there was always going to be a bump in the road.

“We won 10, drew one. Unbelievable, everybody is on board. Win, win, win, win, win, win, win, win – everybody is happy. Very easy to maintain momentum and be on top of that.

“It is now after that defeat, how you show you character and your leadership and going to Munich, we have a beautiful opportunity to do that.”

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By Adoga Stephen Editor-In-Chief
Stephen studied Mass Communication at the Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu (now Lagos State University of Science and Technology), where he acquired requisite training for the practice of journalism. He loves the media, and his interest mostly lies in print medium, where his creative writing skill makes him a perfect fit.