Mikel Arteta was left at a loss for words as Arsenal ’s miserable season reached a new low with the humbling defeat to Liverpool.
The Gunners will have fancied their chances against Jurgen Klopp’s men, but were blown away at the Emirates, losing 3-0.
Stood with head in hands on the touchline, Arteta attempted to find a reason for his side’s shocking display, but was still in a state of shock when conducting post-match press duties.
“At the moment I am in shock,” he told Sky Sports. “I didn’t expect that, the way the team trained, but it happened today, it is the reality.”
Asked where he pinned the blame for the no-show, he added: “It is my fault. I have to set the team to play in a different way.
“The standard has to be much higher for this football club. We could not put three passes together.
“Too many simple things were not done right and when you do that against this opponent you get punished.”
The Arsenal boss’ honest review of the defeat was perhaps a welcome change to the formulaic interviews Premier League fans can sometimes come to expect.
But it was a review Gary Neville failed to agree with, instead suggesting Arsenal’s below-par stars failed to follow his detailed gameplan against the champions.
He said during commentary: “I have to say, when you are carrying too many who don’t want to do the work without the ball, to the extent that four or five didn’t, then Arteta’s gameplan is gone.”
And perhaps most concerning for the Arsenal faithful is that this isn’t the first time his squad have been unable to follow his instructions.
After falling 3-0 down against West Ham before the international break, Alexandre Lacazette claimed his side’s performance didn’t ‘respect’ the plan laid out by their coach.
“We didn’t respect the game plan of the coach. This is not what we wanted but we have to think about it,” the Frenchman explained in the aftermath of the 3-3 draw.
Now 50 Premier League games into his Gunners tenure, inexperience can no longer be used an excuse for below-par showings.
His predecessor Unai Emery was dismissed after 78 games in all competitions – just four more than Arteta has now been in charge for.
“Arteta knows where he needs to go. And he has got confirmation of it tonight,” Neville added.
That change of direction needs to come fast, Emery is all too aware of what could happen otherwise.
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