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Arsenal v Aston Villa: Goals ‘very poor’, Arteta says after Premier League result boosts Man City

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said his team had conceded “very poor goals” in their 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa which handed control of the title race to Manchester City.

Leon Bailey tapped Villa ahead in the 84th minute and Ollie Watkins raced clear to chip David Raya and seal victory for the fourth-placed Villans three minutes later, ensuring the Gunners missed out on the win they needed to move a point above City at the top of the table.

“When you are at this level, you have to punish them,” Arteta said of his team’s chances, which included a misplaced header by Gabriel Jesus and saves by former Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez from Kai Havertz and Leandro Trossard.

“And when you haven’t done that, at least don’t concede the goals that we have.”

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City thrashed Luton Town 5-1 at home on Saturday and would have watched with glee as third-placed Liverpool, who could also have gone top, lost 1-0 at home to Crystal Palace earlier on Sunday.

Arsenal’s result means the reigning champions have their destiny in their hands with six games remaining.

Premier League table: City top

“We cannot control that,” Arteta said of City’s results. “When you have the run that we had and you win, win, win, it’s easy to be a leader and stand up. The moment is now: after this blow, how we react.

“We have the best opportunity to react on Wednesday against Bayern Munich. If you want to win, you have to respect all situations.”

Arteta’s side drew 2-2 at home to Bayern in the first leg of their Uefa Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday, having gone 11 matches unbeaten in the top flight before their first league defeat of 2024.

Their only draw along the way was a goalless stalemate at City on March 31 which seemed to have strengthened their title credentials.

A trip to Wolves awaits them next in the league, travelling to Molineux on Saturday (7.30pm BST).

Arteta said captain Martin Odegaard had been substituted because the midfielder had “a little issue”.

Ben Miller
Ben Miller
Ben has more than 10 years' experience in sports journalism, covering two EURO tournaments, European club competitions, the Premier League, EFL and WSL and a variety of other major sporting events.

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