Mikel Arteta criticises Arsenal players for not following plan during Man City defeat

Arsenal v Man City: Match in pictures

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta claims his players did not follow through with their plan for Sunday’s match against Manchester City. Raheem Sterling put City into the lead inside two minutes at the Emirates. Sterling headed home a Riyad Mahrez cross after being left unmarked in the box.

City dominated possession but failed to add anymore to the scoreline, seeing out a 1-0 victory in north London.

After the match, Arteta said his team had worked on similar scenarios to Sterling’s goal.

And therefore it was the nature of the goal which annoyed him the most.

“We got something wrong. We didn’t do it in the first 10 minutes,” Arteta told Sky Sports.

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“It’s a cross and Raheem Sterling cannot head a ball there. You cannot concede that goal.

“It was a tactical thing that we were prepared for but we didn’t read it in the game.”

Arsenal came into the game more towards the end of the first half and harboured hopes of stealing an equaliser late on.

However, City made it 18 wins in a row in all competitions, with Ederson rarely tested in goal.

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Arteta was pleased with the response from his team after the early setback.

“When we conceded the first goal it put us in a difficult situation. It was tough,” he added.

“With the formation and the players they use they are really comfortable.

“After that the team reacted really well, were on top of the game and created chances but we lacked the quality in those situations to score the goal.

“We got momentum and confidence and were really good on the ball as well.

“We found good spaces but when we were in the final third we didn’t pick the right pass to score a goal.

“We tried to use some weaknesses that we thought we could exploit. They don’t have many!

“How they compete when they have in the last few minutes, they are a top side.

“Today they played a little bit differently but within that organisation they can do lots of really good things. They manage the situation really well.”

Arsenal take on Benfica in the second leg of their Europa League last-32 tie on Thursday.

The game is evenly poised at 1-1 and Arteta knows the importance of the competition to the club.

“We have a final on Thursday because we want to continue in the competition,” he said.

“We have to sleep, eat and we won’t have time to train then we fly to Greece.”

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