Mikel Arteta calls Arsenal performance ‘unacceptable’

Mikel Arteta regrets the consequences of an “unacceptable” performance from his Arsenal side at Crystal Palace and said that he did not anticipate anything like a 3-0 defeat that raises questions about their hopes of being in the top four slots.

Arsenal played really flat last night and got what they deserved against a well organised Crystal Palace. They still remain fifth on the score table on goal difference behind spurs and while they do have a game in hand, they must visit their north London rivals next month.

“We were not playing like we are used to, we were late to every pass, we were soft in the duels and we did not earn the right to play. We were sloppy on the ball and we were not dominant. Anywhere where we could have taken the game into our own hands, we conceded two poor goals and that too before halftime. Overall its unacceptable, We put our hands up, we apologise and regroup.”

Arteta was asked if he had seen the defeat coming to which he answered,” No I could not see it.” He said that the Arsenal players failed to heed his warnings before the game. 

“We discussed it just before kick-off, the way you win here is when you compete the way you should. That means you win duels, have presence and the composure on the pitch to manage certain situations. They are a really physical team and the pitch is not the best to do that, so you have to find a way to do other things that usually you don’t have to do. We didn’t manage to do that.” 

Kieran Tierney, who could miss the rest of the season due to a knee injury was alos absent from the squad while Thomas Partey departed early in a development that clearly concerned Arteta. Arsenal’s squad depth has become very thin but Arteta refuses to use it as mitigation.

“It is what we have,” he said. “ We lost Kieran, we also lost Thomas now but this is it. With the players that we have we will try our best like we have been trying since the start of the season.”

Patrick Vieira was pleased with Palace’s performance against his former team, which earned them their first league win at home since December 28. “I’m quite pleased of myself,” he remarked. “We put up a fantastic football performance.” We did a good job of defending and taking chances.”

Crystal Palace was magnificent and well-deserving of a clean win that boosts their top-half chances and builds momentum towards an FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea. They were up against a Chaotic Arsenal that was not composed and in control. The north London derby is fast becoming a winner takes all clash for that fourth champions league slot.

Arsenal looked completely unprepared for the task at hand. Conor Gallagher was a red and blue blur, tearing around the Gunners’ backline. Wilfred Zaha dazzled them with his quick feet. Furthermore, Aaron Ramsdale’s pinpoint kicking was a yard off, Ben White was transported back to that unhappy August debut in Brentford and the newly-prolific Thomas Partey was back to air-kicking speculative shots.

The game was up for Arsenal but a combination of dogged palace defending and misfortune denied them a late consolation. First, Guaita saved from Saka with Marc Guehi denying Smith Rowe’s rebound on the goal line, before Nketiah rattled the woodwork with a sensational strike from distance. 

“We have got super Pat Vieira,” was sung with a touch more vigorous than usual from the Palace faithful, an acknowledgement of the popular manager’s association with their opponents for the evening. It was a stunning night for him, less so for Arteta. With Antonio Conte’s Tottenham gathering momentum, Arsenal can ill-afford any more performance like this. 

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