Mikel Arteta slams suggestion of big help to Leeds United's relegation rivals upon Arsenal blow
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Second-placed Arsenal lined up for Sunday’s hosting of Brighton knowing that victories in their next two games would take them back above leaders Manchester City who are not back in league action until next Sunday’s clash against Chelsea at the Etihad.
Arsenal take on United’s key relegation rivals Nottingham Forest at the City Ground beforehand on Saturday evening but Arteta’s side can no longer overhaul City next weekend following a crushing 3-0 defeat in Sunday’s game against the Seagulls.
The Gunners remain four points behind City with just two games left but Arteta hit back at a suggestion that his side have now run out of steam following the weekend’s reverse and ahead of next Saturday’s hugely important game at Forest. Fifth-bottom Forest are currently three points ahead of third-bottom Leeds with just two games left.
Speaking at his post match press conference and as quoted by football.london, Arteta was asked if it was unfair to say the team have run out of steam, and insisted "No, I think we have the highest running stats in the league. So I don’t think that’s the case. Today, I think individually we were below par - to be gentle."
Pressed on whether he accepted if the title was over, Arteta declared: "What I have to accept first is what happened in the second half and digest it. Look individually at what happened in the second half. After that until it’s mathematically over…The second position is secure. That’s not going to change. We have to digest and that will take a few days."
Arsenal were also dealt an additional blow during the contest in which attacking star Gabriel Martinelli was forced off injured in just the 20th minute. Asked for an update, Arteta said: "We don’t know. He’s in a boot at the moment. He was very uncomfortable, and he could not carry on playing. We need to scan him and see the extent of that injury."