Mikel Arteta has apologised for Arsenal’s second-half performance in their shock 3-0 defeat to Brighton at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon.
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The Gunners needed to win to keep any realistic hopes of the Premier League title alive, but suffered a heavy loss to a thoroughly impressive Seagulls side.
The match was goalless at half-time, but Roberto De Zerbi’s side were superb after the break, with Julio Enciso, Deniz Undav and Pervis Estupinan scoring the goals.
Arsenal were a shadow of the brilliant best they have reached at times this season, even as recently as beating Newcastle last week, but Arteta was stunned and disappointed with what he saw from his players as the game slipped away from them.
‘A week away from here I was standing here and feeling proud, that was the feeling that I had, but today I have to apologise because the performance we had in the second half is not acceptable,’ Arteta told Sky Sports.
‘Mathematically it [the Premier League title] is still possible and this is football, but today it is impossible to be thinking about it, we have to digest the result and performance we had in the second half, understand why and have a very different performance in the next game.
‘We conceded a goal when they were really direct in behind, then from there the team had no reaction. Obviously when you give the silly goal away the second one then the team collapsed, the team had no answers.’
The Spaniard is concerned with what happened to his own side, saying that it is a weakness that must be addressed between him and his players
‘I will defend always my players, the first responsibility always is me,’ he said. ‘After a defeat like this at home you have to make analysis to yourself and individually before looking at anyone else.
‘Brighton were really good when we became really poor. If the team is able to do that then there are obviously things that have to be addressed.
‘You cannot look at any excuse, we have to look individually first.’
Arsenal are now four points behind Manchester City with two games to play, while Pep Guardiola’s side have three matches left.
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