Mikel Arteta sends another brutal title race message to Arsenal squad as Gunners run out of excuses

The Gunners’ manager gives his team a clear call to action after their loss to Aston Villa cost them vital ground in the Premier League title fight.

Mikel Arteta sends another brutal title race message to Arsenal squad as Gunners run out of excuses

Mikel Arteta sent a clear message to his Arsenal squad after their 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

It was meant to be a different year.

Whether you like it or not, Arsenal lost the previous season’s title match. Even after leading the way for 248 days, they were unsuccessful. In the history of the Premier League, no team has ever matched that.

Even so, the soundbite analysis is a little harsh because of the mitigating circumstances.

For many at Arsenal, including the manager Mikel Arteta, this was their first shot at winning the title. The squad had glaring gaps in depth as well. That’s even before we get to the fact that they were utterly destroyed in the final stretch by injuries to key players at the wrong moment.

But this time, Arteta couldn’t have asked for a more ideal set of circumstances if she were to set up a lab for a title challenge. Sure, Arsenal has a challenging schedule, but they have also matured and learned from their mistakes over the previous year. They have solved their depth concerns with wise summer additions, and Jurrien Timber is the only player missing from the team. Their manager has acknowledged that they have “grown as a team.”

Therefore, why have they lost their two most important games of the season thus far, exactly like they did the season before?

Arsenal might cite a crowded schedule. They were completely outplayed in the last parts of the game on Sunday, and they certainly appeared worn out. However, given that Aston Villa had slept two fewer days following their midweek European exploits, fatigue can hardly be an excuse.

David Luiz remarked, “If you sleep happy you can sleep four hours,” following Arteta’s third game as Arsenal’s manager, a 2-0 victory over Manchester United, which came at the end of a festive period that had seen them play three games in six days. It is preferable to eight hours of sad sleep. Those words could not be more true as Arteta oversaw his 263rd game in charge.

The glass jaw that has been hanging over Arsenal since the winter break appears to be showing signs of weariness. They gave up all the confidence and control that had defined their 2024 against Bayern Munich on Tuesday after a brilliant start in favor of the frantic uncertainty that typified their games at this point in 2023. Similar things happened against Aston Villa, as they withdrew into their shells and let Unai Emery’s team dominate after failing to take the lead that their early play deserved.

The same formula was used in the draws against West Ham and Liverpool that marked the start of the end of the previous campaign. However, Arteta is determined to ensure that the remainder of the run doesn’t.

At full time, the Spaniard declared, “You have to stand up when you have these moments if you want to win championships and be in the Champions League.” If not, it indicates that you lack a very important quality. It’s a big test for us now.

Arsenal has appeared to be a team that has realized all of a sudden that they have the potential to win both domestic and European titles during the last two games. If their past performances are any indication, they find that idea terrifying.

They will need to address it right away, but even then, it might not be sufficient. They are in the same situation as they were the previous season—they are hoping for a favor from Manchester City in the title game, and if history is any guide, those don’t happen very often. The Arsenal players will run out of reasons if they don’t have any luck of their own. All of them will be accountable to themselves.


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