Soccer

Mikel Arteta pinpoints two key Arsenal moments that handed title to Man City

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta reviews the Nottingham Forest game

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has named his side’s frustrating draw at Liverpool earlier this season as one of two key moments that helped Manchester City to gain the upper hand in the race for the Premier League title. City were confirmed as champions with three games to spare on Saturday evening after Arsenal were beaten by Nottingham Forest, who also ensured top-flight survival by claiming all three points at the expense of the Gunners.

Taiwo Awoniyi’s first-half goal proved to be the difference for Forest, who managed to claim an impressive victory in spite of  Arsenal having the vast majority of possession and the lion’s share of opportunities at the City Ground. The result marked a third defeat in five matches for the north Londoners, who also waved goodbye to their faint hopes of Premier League glory despite mounting a spirited challenge for the top honours over the course of this season.

Arteta was quizzed after the full-time whistle on the key moments in the title race which helped to shift the momentum in City’s favour and pinpointed the Gunners’ draw at Liverpool, who came from two goals down to ensure the points were shared at Anfield at the start of last month. The Spaniard also highlighted the draw against West Ham a week later as another crucial result which saw Arsenal’s imperious form begin to fade away under the intense weight of pressure.

“It started with what happened at Anfield in the 90th minute and we give it away and then you go to West Ham and you can make it 3-1 and that’s going to change,” said Arteta in his post-match press conference.

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“We have conceded a lot of goals, we have given 16 goals away in those matches, it’s a lot, you know a lot, you cannot sustain that. To win in this league you have to be exceptional at everything, because there are no margins. That team doesn’t give you any margins and we have extended those margins too much and that’s how we lost the league.”

Arteta went on to insist that he and his Arsenal players will be looking to use the pain of their failed Premier League title bid to fuel their desire to put things right next season, with the Gunners hoping to establish themselves as regular contenders at the very top of the table over the coming years.

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“I know that we have built an illusion, enthusiasm and belief that we could go all the way and win it, and we fell short so congratulations to Manchester City, they’re the champions and they deserve to be the champions,” continued Arteta.

“They’ve done it for 38 games and we haven’t been able to do that. That’s it, and from my side I apologise because we have generated belief that we could do it, and at the end the team wasn’t able to do it, and that is my responsibility. For sure, we will find a way to do that.

“Today is just sadness, you see a lot of people who have put so much work, so much belief and so many hours and I am sad for them because I wanted to find a way. We wanted to squeeze everything that we had out of that group and find alternatives and ways to reach certain levels, and when we don’t we try in other ways. We fell short and it is my job and my responsibility and I have to analyse that and think.”

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