Mikel Arteta had to stomach a third consecutive Premier League defeat for Arsenal on Saturday afternoon.
It feels like mere days have passed since the mood around Emirates Stadium was sky high with the Gunners licking their lips at upcoming fixtures against Crystal Palace, Brighton & Hove Albion and Southampton.
However, what looked like a potential nine points on paper in their hunt for Champions League football has turned into a catastrophic run of defeat after defeat after defeat for a total of zero.
Southampton 1-0 Arsenal
Arsenal suffered a crushing 3-0 loss at Selhurst Park before Brighton ran away 2-1 victors in north London, leaving them with no choice other than to try and nick three points from St. Mary’s Stadium.
But it simply wasn’t to be with Arsenal unable to find a way past Fraser Forster across a frustrating 90 minutes where Jan Bednarek’s goal just before half-time proved the difference between the two sides.
All in all, it confounded the Gunners’ recent capitulation and piled the pressure on Arteta’s head all over again despite the former Manchester City coach having been lauded just weeks previously.
Arteta criticised for post-match interview
And while it’s only natural that Arsenal’s defeat on the south coast would see criticism thrown in his direction, it seems as though the Spaniard only fanned the flames with his post-match interview.
That’s because the Arsenal boss leaned into the narrative that his side had deserved much, much more for their greater possession and a superior number of shots despite ultimately coming up short.
According to the Mirror, the 40-year-old said: “If somebody didn’t know the score and is watching the game and asks who won the game, they will say that Arsenal won it comfortably. But it’s not the case.”
He then added: “It’s difficult to explain because this is football not basketball. It’s decided in the boxes and for the amount of time we spent around their box we didn’t put them on the goal. They had an exceptional goalkeeper.”
Fans make their feelings clear
However, for a lot of Gooners, that simply wasn’t good enough with replies and retweets arriving in their droves to make the point that Arsenal should have done much more to make their possession count.
But we’ll let you be your own judge by watching Arteta’s chat to Sky Sports, as well as some of the more publishable criticisms from Arsenal fans, down below:
"If somebody didn't know the score and watched the game they'd say Arsenal won comfortably" 🤔— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) April 16, 2022
Mikel Arteta explains #AFC's defeat to Southampton – their third Premier League loss in a row 😳 pic.twitter.com/EJENAJkNxt
Worrying times for Arsenal
Harsh? Justified? It’s a tricky one, but regardless of your own feelings, there’s no escaping the fact that more than a few Gooners were wagging their finger at Arteta’s analysis.
And you can understand why zero points from a possible nine against mid-table opposition would have the fanbase pulling their hair out because Champions League qualification appeared to be in their hands.
The north London club aren’t completely out of the race thanks to Tottenham Hotspur’s own slip-up against Brighton earlier in the day, but they’re certainly doing a great job of making life hard for themselves.
And with Cristiano Ronaldo firing Manchester United to three points against Norwich City, the vultures are circling around Arteta in what could be a season that comes to be defined by missed opportunities.
Arsenal fans will just have to hope that solely applies to their chances against Southampton and not their Champions League dreams overall.