Mikel Arteta has apologised to Arsenal’s supporters for his team’s “unacceptable” performance in the 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace.
The Gunners’ top-four hopes took a significant dent at Palace, a result which leaves Tottenham in fourth place after the Premier League weekend.
The Gunners do have a game in hand on their north London rivals but this was an out-of-character performance from Arteta’s side, as first-half goals from Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jordan Ayew and a second-half Wilfried Zaha penalty handed fantastic Palace the points.
Arteta criticised his team’s performance, admitting they did not compete physically with Palace.
He told Sky Sports: “Congratulations to Palace for the game they played but we made it impossible for ourselves with the way we competed.
“You have to be physical and run and then you earn the right to play. We were really inconsistent on the ball and that is unacceptable.
“We were poor, especially in the first half. I apologise to our supporters. We didn’t have the presence today or the composure to dominate the situation so that is what I’m most annoyed with. Some days you are not there and you are late all the time. They got on top of it and had a good atmosphere and we could not get out.
“When we had the big chances we didn’t score to give ourselves the best chance to get back in the game. First of all we need to put our hands up and get the criticism we deserve. Then we accept it, look ourselves in the mirror and look to the next game. This was not good enough.
“We have to face the challenge and the opportunity is in our hands. We have to be honest with ourselves and support each other.
“From the beginning we were not at the races. When you come here you have to compete, you have to win duels and second balls and be aggressive and we were none of those and on top of that we were really poor on the ball.
“We tried in the second half, we had three or four big chances but the only half chance they had they got a penalty.
“It is time to accept the criticism, put your hand up and apologise because this performance was not good enough for this club, and then react. When everything goes well everyone wants to be there and be supportive.”
Arteta was asked if perhaps one of the reasons for the defeat was the pressure being applied to them by Tottenham in the top-four race.
He replied: “No, the pressure has been there the last seven or eight weeks. Today we didn’t perform it’s as simple as that. We were second best in every department it’s as simple as that. We have a game in hand still. In the nine games a lot will happen. We have to focus on ourselves.”
Rooney: It could be a damaging result for Arsenal
Wayne Rooney on Monday Night Football:
“Crystal Palace were excellent. The intensity of Conor Gallagher really rubs off on the other players and you saw a reaction from the others. I thought 3-0 was deserved if I’m honest.
“It could be a damaging result for Arsenal, but I’m sure Mikel Arteta will be working on a reaction and making sure this game is put to the back of their minds.
“They’ve got a lot of important games coming up and they’re in pole position still. I just think they’ve got so many young players that this might hurt them. Tottenham have got a little bit more experience which could help them get over the line.”
Carra: Important Arsenal don’t panic
Jamie Carragher on Monday Night Football:
“It’s a bad night for Arsenal – the way they’ve lost, not just the three points but I think it’s very important they don’t panic and there’s no hysteria. They’re still in a really good position – a better position than Tottenham and Manchester United.
“They’ve just won five games away from home on the bounce so you’re talking about 15 points from 18 away from home. They’d have took that from the six games away from home.
“It was a bad one and the worry is that this could happen another two or three times. Other teams will take encouragement from the way Palace played.
“I think it’ll be a really big boost for Tottenham and United tonight – not just Arsenal dropping points but the way that they’ve lost. It’s important they don’t panic.”
Vieira: I’m so proud
Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira said: “We played a really good game of football. We defended well and took our chances. We scored in important moments of the game. We needed a big team performance and we did it so we’re really pleased.
“We wanted to put pressure on and the atmosphere in the stadium allowed us to take that kind of risk. We were really smart with the way we defended from the front and took the chances to score goals.
“This football club is all about supporting the team and when we are at home we really feel that. The players were tired but the big difference is the atmosphere and the fans behind the players.”