Arteta inconsolable, congratulates Manchester City, says ‘Arsenal fell short’


Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, graciously congratulated Manchester City for winning the Premier League on Saturday, but there was no concealing his agony.

This was after his team had led the race for so long but lost form in the crucial run-in.

Eight points clear two months ago, Arsenal won only two of their last eight games, with defeat to Nottingham Forest handing the title to Pep Guardiola’s unstoppable side.

“It’s a really sad day. We fell short,” a grim-faced Arteta told reporters after the 1-0 loss at the City Ground.

“I congratulate Manchester City. They are the champions, they deserved to win. I apologise because we have generated that belief that we could do it, but we were unable to and that is my responsibility.

“Today we should have played much better. We gave them a goal.

“When you come to April and May, you need 24 players playing at their best, full of confidence and ready to go, and for many reasons, we have not had that.”

Arteta, who used to work under Guardiola at Manchester City, has however achieved a remarkable turnaround in form for Arsenal, who are a comfortable second in the world’s toughest league.

They led the standings for 248 days this season: the most for any team who have then failed to win the Premier League.

“It has been an incredible journey for us over 10 months competing with Manchester City, being ahead of them for so long. We were so eager to go for something in sport and we didn’t reach it,” Arteta said.

“We have learned huge lessons. We have transformed a lot at this club, we have made huge steps, but the icing on the cake is to win a championship and we fell short.”

Arteta said it was too early and raw to start talking about next season’s goals. “Today, it is just sadness,” he added.

“We wanted to find a way, to squeeze everything we had in that group… At the end, it wasn’t enough.

“I know we are not at that level (of Manchester City), but we have to find a way… We have to find other ways to do it. For example, today we should have played much better… We have to push.

“We are yet to win. I want to win. I love winning. And when you don’t get there, it’s painful. We have conceded a lot of goals, you can’t sustain that and win this league.

“Now we must heal. It is very painful. I have to find a way to lift the players and we have a tough week ahead of us.”

His players shared the pain, but goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale also struck a positive note going forward.

“Deep down, we know what we have achieved. When the dust settles we will be proud, but this is a learning curve for us. It is a season to be proud of for Arsenal football club,” he said.

“It’s a disappointing end. We have one more game and we need to put a smile back on the fans’ faces.”

Manchester City were confirmed as English Premier League champions for the fifth time in six seasons on Saturday without even having to kick a ball.

This was after second-placed Arsenal’s challenge ended in defeat away at Nottingham Forest.

Arsenal, who enjoyed an eight-point lead over Manchester City as recently as mid-March, needed at least a point to stay mathematically in the hunt, but went down 1-0.

Manchester City, who host Chelsea on Sunday after which they will be presented with the trophy, have 85 points with three games to play.

Arsenal are on 81 points with one game left.

It is Manchester City’s seventh Premier League title since they were bought by Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan in 2008.

They are now just two wins away from completing a treble, only previously achieved by Manchester United in 1999.

Manchester City face Manchester United in the FA Cup final on June 3.

A week later, they take on Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League final —-starting as big favourites in both games.

Manager Pep Guardiola has now won a total of 12 trophies since being hired by Manchester City in 2016.

While Arsenal had threatened to knock Manchester City off their perch this season, it all proved an illusion in the end as Guardiola’s side again proved relentless in the run-in.

Since losing to Tottenham Hotspur on February 5, they have taken 40 points from the next 42 on offer and have 11 successive league games, beating Arsenal comprehensively home and away.

If Manchester City win their last three games, they will reach 94 points.

This is not as many as the totals they achieved in 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 though, for Guardiola’s first two league titles.

But the way they have finished the season suggests the gap between them and the rest is widening.

Manchester City have now joined an elite group of clubs to win three successive English top-flight titles, with Huddersfield Town, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United the only others.


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