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Premier League 2023-24: Mikel Arteta encourages Arsenal to maintain belief despite setback in title race

Amidst a setback in their Premier League title aspirations following a defeat to Aston Villa, Arsenal's manager Mikel Arteta emphasises the importance of maintaining belief.

Football Mikel Arteta encourages Arsenal to maintain belief despite setback in title race osf
First Published Apr 15, 2024, 5:19 PM IST

Arsenal suffered a significant blow to their Premier League title aspirations with a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa, allowing Manchester City to reclaim the top spot in the standings. Despite this setback, manager Mikel Arteta remains steadfast in his belief that Arsenal can still clinch their first league title since 2004.

Late goals from substitute Leon Bailey and the prolific Ollie Watkins condemned Arsenal to only their fifth loss of the season. The defeat dashed Arsenal's hopes of seizing the top position, especially after seeing rivals Liverpool stumble against Crystal Palace earlier in the day.

Reflecting on the loss and the shift in the title race dynamics, Arteta acknowledged the unpredictability of football and emphasised the importance of responding positively to adversity. "We knew that this moment could come, and now it's about reacting and maintaining our belief," he stated.

Despite a strong first-half performance, characterised by one of their best displays of the season, Arsenal failed to capitalise on their chances, allowing momentum to shift in Villa's favor in the second half. Arteta emphasized the need for leadership and character among his players to navigate through this challenging period.

Arsenal's defensive solidity, which had been a hallmark in recent matches, faltered against Villa, conceding two avoidable goals. Arteta highlighted the importance of tightening up defensively, especially with a crucial Champions League quarter-final second leg against Bayern Munich looming.

The defeat notwithstanding, Arteta remains optimistic about Arsenal's prospects, particularly in the Champions League, where they have the opportunity to reach the semi-finals for the first time in 14 years. He urged his players to seize the moment and rise to the occasion in the upcoming European fixture.

Meanwhile, Aston Villa manager Unai Emery expressed satisfaction with his team's performance, emphasising the significance of securing three points against a formidable opponent like Arsenal. Emery downplayed the personal significance of defeating his former club, emphasising that every win is equally important in the quest for success.

As the title race intensifies and the pressure mounts, Arsenal faces a crucial period ahead, where resilience and determination will be key in their pursuit of silverware both domestically and in Europe.

Also Read: Inside Bayer Leverkusen's festivities: How Xabi Alonso & Co. celebrated maiden Bundesliga title (WATCH)

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