Arsenal

Mikel Arteta apologises to Arsenal fans for lack of “composure” after Crystal Palace loss

Arteta watched on as his Arsenal side lost to Crystal Palace as their top four hopes took a major dent and the Spaniard has issued an apology for the Gunners fans.

Mikel Arteta apologised to Arsenal fans after he lamented their lack of “composure” in the 3-0 defeat at Crystal Palace.

The Gunners boss watched on as his side were second best at Selhurst Park with Tottenham now occupying fourth spot. Arsenal knew they had to respond against the Eagles after their neighbours comfortably saw off Newcastle United on Sunday. Arteta’s side were 2-0 down at half-time and failed to mount a second-half response.

Wilfried Zaha then made it 3-0 as Arsenal’s Champions League hopes suffered a major setback. The Gunners are aiming to end a lengthy wait for a seat at Europe’s top table having slipped out of the top four picture until this season but Arteta bemoaned the nature of their performance at Palace.

He said on 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.” Arsenal will now be looking to get back to winning ways next time out against Southampton with a game against Brighton to come after that.

A north London derby also looms large with Arsenal having to visit their rivals. The winner of the game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium could prove vital in deciding who gets fourth.

The Gunners are aiming to recover from a horrific start to the campaign which saw them lose their opening three games to Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City. Arsenal have won six of their last eight – but their two recent losses against Palace and Liverpool have seen them usurped by Tottenham.

Jean-Philippe Mateta set Palace on their way before Jordan Ayew doubled their lead shortly after. Arsenal struggled to find a response in the second-half before Wilfried Zaha won and converted a penalty to make the game safe.

Eagles boss Patrick Vieira said: “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.”