Mikel Arteta has admitted that Arsenal’s performance in their 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace on Monday night was ‘unacceptable’.
The Gunners came into the game knowing that avoiding defeat would have moved them back into the top four at the expense of bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Instead, they ended the night in fifth with Spurs clinging onto the final Champions League spot on goal difference.
Palace pressed Arsenal high from the outset and took the lead early on through Jean-Philippe Mateta. Jordan Ayew then doubled their advantage later in the first half before Wilfried Zaha won and then converted a late penalty to seal a famous victory for the Eagles.
Speaking after the match, Arteta confessed that he had been worried by his players’ performance.
“Congratulations first of all to Crystal Palace for winning the match and the way they performed, but we weren’t at the races today especially in the first half,” he said.
“We were late to every ball, we were soft in the duels and we didn’t earn the right to play. When we did a little bit we were sloppy on the ball and we didn’t have any dominance, any sequences of play where we could take some control of the game and we conceded two poor goals.
“Overall it’s unacceptable, we put our hands up, apologise, regroup. Tomorrow is a new day and a new opportunity to prepare the group against Brighton.”
Arsenal have a young starting XI and some onlookers have suggested that the pressure would get to this inexperienced group during the run-in. However, Arteta was eager to dismiss this idea.
“No because the pressure has been there the last seven or eight weeks. We are talking all the time about the race for the top four and these have been putting in really good performances and getting really good results,” he added.
“Today we didn’t perform it’s as simple as that. We were second best in every department especially in the first half.
“When we tried to change in the second half and play much more the way we wanted to play, in defining moments we had three or four big chances and we didn’t score the goals that we needed to come back in the game.”
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