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Mikel Arteta says Arsenal facing ‘big test’ after shock home defeat against Aston Villa

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has urged his players to “stand up and be counted” after their Premier League title hopes were damaged by defeat to Aston Villa.

Arsenal failed to return to the top of the Premier League after a 2-0 home defeat against Aston Villa on Sunday. Late goals from Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins ended the Gunners’ 11-league-game unbeaten run.

Arsenal remain second, two points behind Manchester City and level on points with third-placed Liverpool with six games left to play.

‘Now the moment is to stand up and be counted’

After the match at the Emirates Stadium, Mikel Arteta was asked if he is worried that Arsenal’s season could collapse like last season.

Arteta said: “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 that we’ve had all season in the first half against a really good team.

It should have been three or four or more. It didn’t happen. In the second half the momentum shifted. We could not control and generate what we did in the first half. We conceded two very poor goals and we lost the game.

Congratulate the opponent and stand up. Now the moment is to stand up and be counted. When you win and win and win for four months it’s very simple to do it. The moment to do it is now.

He added: “We don’t have any other solution. If you want to win championships, if you want to be there in the Champions League, when you have these moments you have to stand up. If not that means that you don’t have a quality that is very necessary.

Now it’s a big test for us. In any other league in the world if you won the number of games in a row that we did. you would be six or eight points clear. That is not the case here. That is the challenge.”

Sam Barton
Sam Barton
Sam Barton fell in love with football during the 98 World Cup and has been fascinated by it ever since. The tactical side of the game is what truly inspires him to think, read and write about football, making him the ideal football writer.
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