Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said that goalkeeper Alex Runarsson’s mistake led in part to making it “impossible” for his side to beat Manchester City.
The Gunners’ woes continued on Tuesday when City dumped them out of the Carabao Cup at the Emirates Stadium.
Despite equalising through Alexandre Lacazette in the first half, Runarsson’s error helped the visitors take the lead.
The Iceland goalkeeper looked to have saved Riyad Mahrez’s free kick but he could not keep hold of the ball. Indeed, from there, Pep Guardiola’s men netted two further goals to add gloss to their victory.
Speaking after the game, Arteta offered his support to his second-choice goalkeeper but admitted that his error played a part in his side’s defeat.
“A really hard one to take, considering how the game went, the reaction the team had against this level of opponent,” the manager said (via the Daily Mirror).
“Obviously when you give the goals away that we gave, you make the game impossible.”
Asked about Runarsson’s error, the Spaniard added: “He hasn’t played a lot of games for us, he’s just adapting to the league. We all make mistakes and we have to support him.”
Runarsson deputised for Bernd Leno, who is Arteta’s regular first-choice goalkeeper. But Arteta insisted that the German needed a break.
Asked whether he thought about starting Leno, he said: “Yes, but as well we know that Bernd has played a lot of minutes.
“He needed some rest as well and we wanted to give opportunities to some other players.
“Alex has done well in the other games and these things happen in football.”
Guardiola warns Arsenal over sacking Arteta
Meanwhile, City boss Pep Guardiola has warned Arsenal not to sack Arteta.
The Gunners‘ defeat on Tuesday was the latest poor result in their slump. Indeed, Arteta’s men sit 15th in the Premier League table ahead of upcoming crucial games.
They play Chelsea on Boxing Day before facing Brighton and West Brom – sides in and around the bottom of the table. Arteta has admitted that he could be in trouble if they do not take points from such matches.
However, Guardiola has said that sacking his former assistant would be the wrong decision.