Arsenal vs Aston Villa: What did Mikel Arteta not like about the second half?

After the defeat, Mikel Arteta spoke about what went right for them in the first half but how the momentum shifted in the second period.

Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta in a file photo; Credit: Twitter/@Arsenal
By Karthik Raman | Apr 16, 2024 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Arsenal suffered a big blow in the title fight, as they surrendered the top spot in the Premier League table to Manchester City. The Gunners entered the weekend at the top of the standings after some results went in their favour the previous week. Their game against Aston Villa was the highlight of that weekend for various reasons. With Villa fighting to secure Champions League football and Arsenal battling for Premier League supremacy, all eyes were on the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners started the contest on the front foot and did plenty of things right in the first half but failed to take the lead. However, Arsenal were unable to enjoy the same level of freedom in the second period, with Aston Villa doing a commanding job in closing down the spaces. As the frustration began to grow for the home side, Villa scored two late goals to break the hearts of the home supporters.

After the Premier League defeat, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta spoke about what went right for them in the first half but how the momentum shifted in the second period. Asked about managing emotions after a defeat, Arteta, quoted on, said in his post-match press conference, “If one result is going to do that then we are not strong enough, that’s very simple. We had one of the best performances in the first half that we had this season by far against a really good team, it should have been three or four or more.”

He added: “It didn’t happen in the second half, momentum shifted, we could not control and generate what we did in the first half. We struggled, we conceded two very poor goals and we lost the game so congratulations to the opponent and now is the moment to stand up as a leader, as a character to make yourself count because when you win and win and win and win for four months, it’s very simple to do it. The moment is now.”

We lacked a lot of composure: Mikel Arteta

Arteta then went on to explain in depth about the reason for the shift in momentum in the second half. “We were struggling to bring the ball and do what we did in the first half. We lacked a lot of composure, we rushed things with the ball, we never had enough sequences in areas that we wanted like we did in the first half. Credit to them as well, we lacked a lot in the second half and the game became more stretched, and more even without a lot of things happening really. Obviously when we conceded the goals that was a big blow and the second one even bigger in the manner in which it happened,” he explained.

Arsenal were leading the Premier League table before this weekend. They were narrowly edging out Liverpool on goal difference. But both Liverpool and the Gunners lost this weekend, allowing Manchester City to leapfrog them to the top spot. Asked whether there could be more twists in the final league games, Arteta said, “That’s a possibility, that’s the reality right now. It was the same a few months back, we knew that this moment could come. Now it’s about reacting and keep believing and doing what we can.”

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