Mikel Arteta described Arsenal’s 3-0 home defeat by Aston Villa as the worst of his managerial career but was at a loss to explain a performance in which as he put it “I didn’t see my team out there”. Arsenal were second best in every department and Arteta was scathing about his team’s attitude as well as their execution.
“They wanted it more than us,” he said. “I’m struggling to find the reason, but obviously there was something there. If you can’t defend your box, it’s a really complicated way to win matches. We haven’t been scoring a lot of goals and today we looked open in transition, and if you don’t put chances away you have no chance to win. I take full responsibility.”
The result puts Arsenal in the bottom half of the Premier League table and, despite encouraging results such as the 1-0 win at Manchester United, Arteta admitted there were deeper underlying problems to be tackled over the international break. “We need to be more ruthless,” he said. “I didn’t like it from the first whistle. It just wasn’t good enough. That’s something we will analyse.”
Thomas Partey was withdrawn at half-time with a thigh injury and will undergo a scan to assess its seriousness.
Dean Smith said Villa’s performance was on a par with their 7-2 demolition of Liverpool last month. “Personally, I felt it was as good,” the manager said. “Our work without the ball was the most pleasing aspect of it.
We looked so composed and played with such intensity with and without the ball. We were a threat whenever we went forward. It doesn’t get any better.”
Ollie Watkins scored two goals against the club he supported as a boy and issued a warning to the rest of the league. “There is a lot more to come from us,” he said. “You saw it here, you saw it against Liverpool. We can beat anyone.” Guardian