Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has conceded that his side are not realistic challengers for a top-four finish.
The Gunners showed plenty of promise in the opening stages of 2021, but they have since suffered back-to-back defeats to Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa in a huge blow to their European chances.
Villa’s winner from Ollie Watkins came after a defensive lapse of concentration from Cedric Soares, and Arteta has admitted that Arsenal’s “mistakes” mean that a Champions League berth is out of their hands.
Speaking to reporters after the defeat at Villa Park, Arteta said: “Those [top-four challenging] teams they don’t make those mistakes. Those teams, they cannot play in the first 22 games of the season four or five times with 10 men. It doesn’t happen.
“There is not a team in the world that can sustain that. And still if you make an error, you concede early, the team has to react. And the team reacted and we had more than enough to still come back and win the game.
“So if you don’t do one, you have to do the other one. Because if you don’t do neither of them when you have the chances and you are not ruthless enough in the opponents’ box, then of course you are going to lose the game.”
Arsenal’s 10th defeat of the season means that they lie 10th in the Premier League table, and the Gunners now have a full week off before facing Leeds United next Sunday.