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Aston Villa logo
Premier League | Gameweek 16
Dec 9, 2023 at 5.30pm UK
Villa Park
Arsenal logo
Aston Villa
1 - 0
McGinn (7')
Digne (53'), Luiz (62'), McGinn (73'), Carlos (88')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Zinchenko (28'), Rice (77')

Mikel Arteta makes "clear and obvious" admission after Aston Villa defeat

Mikel Arteta makes
© Reuters
Mikel Arteta hints at his anger over "clear and obvious" decisions to go against his team in Arsenal's 1-0 Premier League defeat to Aston Villa at Villa Park.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta hinted at his frustration against two decisions that went against his side in their agonising 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa at Villa Park.

Having lost their grip on first place in the Premier League table to Liverpool, who overcame Crystal Palace in the lunchtime kickoff, the Gunners were under immense pressure to snap the Lions' exceptional home record in the evening kickoff.

Since losing to Arteta's side in February, Unai Emery's men had strung together an incredible 14-game winning run at home in the top flight, including a 1-0 midweek success over Manchester City.

Arsenal put up much more of a fight than the treble winners in the West Midlands, but they were left to bemoan a surfeit of wasted chances as they succumbed to John McGinn's seventh-minute goal, which saw Villa earn a record 15th league home win in a row.

However, Gooners were left incensed at a pair of officiating calls in the second half, as Douglas Luiz seemingly kicked the back of Gabriel Jesus's leg inside the box, but referee Jarred Gillett and VAR Michael Salisbury waved away the appeals.

Arsenal's Declan Rice and Martin Odegaard look dejected after Aston Villa's John McGinn scores their first goal on December 9, 2023© Reuters

Arsenal briefly thought that they had levelled the contest as the clock ticked over into added time, as Kai Havertz bundled home at the back post following a scramble involving several players, but the German was penalised for handball.

Replays confirmed the offence, although the ball also appeared to strike Matty Cash's hand before deflecting onto Havertz, and Villa defender Diego Carlos also escaped with just a yellow card for an elbow into the face of Eddie Nketiah off the ball.

Arteta - who watched on from the director's box owing to his touchline ban - was asked about the Luiz and Havertz incidents after the game, to which he simply responded: "Clear and obvious. Clear and obvious. That's what I mean."

When asked about the threshold of the rule, where decisions can only be overturned if the on-field referee is deemed to have made a clear and obvious error, Arteta offered another measured response, saying: "That's my opinion, that's all I can say."

The Spaniard is already facing an FA charge for lashing out at officials in last month's loss to Newcastle United, where he labelled crucial decisions to go Newcastle's way "embarrassing" and "a disgrace", but he was able to take positives from his side's display at Villa Park.

Aston Villa's John McGinn celebrates scoring their first goal on December 9, 2023© Reuters

"I'm very disappointed with the result, especially with the way we played, I think we deserved much more than what we had, I thought we were the better team, I haven't seen a team do what we did to Villa today since we were here in February," Arteta added.

However, the Gunners boss conceded that his side were devoid of a clinical edge needed to bury their chances, adding: "We had so many big opportunities, some of them we didn't even finish when they were completely open.

"It wasn't enough to win it because we lacked the accuracy in the opponent's box to put the ball in the back of the net with the amount of situations that we generated.

"We had to pick the right player to shoot and when we did it two or three times it was an open goal almost and we didn't manage to score, but there's not much more that we can demand from the team to play every three days."

Arsenal's failure to win means that the Gunners will end the weekend in second place behind Liverpool, and Arteta's side now return to Champions League action on Tuesday with a trip to PSV Eindhoven, having already confirmed a first-placed finish in Group B.

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2Manchester CityMan City26185359263359
4Aston Villa27174659372255
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs26155655391650
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd26142103636044
7West Ham UnitedWest Ham2712694347-442
8Newcastle UnitedNewcastle271241157451240
9Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2710984944539
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves27115114043-338
14Crystal Palace2777133247-1528
17Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest2766153449-1524
18Luton TownLuton2655163754-1720
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2634192266-4413

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