Mikel Arteta has apologized for Arsenal’s “unacceptable” performance in a 3-0 defeat at Crystal Palace which dealt a blow to their bid to finish in the Premier League top four. Arteta’s side were destroyed by first-half goals from Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jordan Ayew at Selhurst Park on Monday. Unable to recover after the break, Arsenal’s second defeat in their last three league games was sealed by Wilfried Zaha’s late penalty. Arsenal entered the weekend in fourth place, but Tottenham’s 5-1 win over Newcastle on Sunday put the pressure on the Gunners and their response could not have been less compelling.
The battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League via a top four finish is heating up and Arsenal are in danger of collapsing.
They sit in fifth place, behind Tottenham on goal difference, having played one game less than their north London rivals.
West Ham and Manchester United, both three points behind Arsenal, will also be keen on their chances after a result that opened up the battle for the top four.
“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’s unacceptable,” Arteta said.
“We were poor, especially in the first half. I apologize to our supporters. We didn’t have the presence or the composure to dominate the situation. That’s what annoys me the most. “
It was a particularly painful result for Arsenal fans given the presence in the palace dugout of Eagles boss Patrick Vieira, a Gunners legend after his trophy-laden playing career with the club.
How they could have done with the kind of tenacious performance that was Vieira’s hallmark in midfield during Arsenal’s glory days.
Vieira comfortably outplayed Arteta, who was voted Premier League Manager of the Month for March after orchestrating his side’s rise in contention for a top four spot.
Those Champions League ambitions don’t seem so believable now.
“We have to put our hands up and get the criticism we deserve. Then we accept it, look in the mirror and move on to the next game. That performance wasn’t good enough,” Arteta said.
– Arsenal routed
Palace took the lead in the 16th minute after Ben White made an unnecessary foul on Zaha.
Conor Gallagher swung his free-kick towards the far post, where Joachim Andersen headed it home for Mateta to nod from six yards out for his sixth goal of the season.
If it was a sloppy goal to concede, there was worse to come for Arteta eight minutes later.
Andersen’s long pass should have been easy for Arsenal’s full-back but Gabriel missed his interception attempt, missing the ball completely as Ayew slipped past a drowsy Nuno Tavares to score with a composed finish from the edge of the surface.
The Ghanaian striker’s second goal this season left Arteta scratching his head in disbelief.
Without Scotland left-back Kieran Tierney due to a knee injury, the Arsenal defense was in disarray and Zaha swept Mateta for a chance which Aaron Ramsdale saved wide.
Outclassed and outclassed in the first half, Arsenal needed an immediate response after the break, but Bukayo Saka’s call was dismissed after being carried away by Cheikhou Kouyate.
Although there was more urgency about Arsenal in the second half, they still lacked the edge.
Emile Smith Rowe shot straight past Vicente Guaita with the goal at his mercy before Martin Odegaard fired unnecessarily wide wide from Saka’s cross.
Arsenal were punished for their profligacy in the 74th minute as Zaha’s raid prompted Odegaard to concede a penalty as he slashed the striker’s ankle.
Zaha dusted himself off and easily converted the kick, sending Ramsdale the wrong way to leave Arsenal’s best four offers hanging in the balance.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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