Wright hits out at one Arsenal star for ‘switching off’ in costly Aston Villa defeat

Joe Williams
Arsenal legend Ian Wright
Ian Wright during his role as a television pundit.

Ian Wright has criticised Arsenal winger Gabriel Martinelli for “switching off” in the lead up to Aston Villa’s first goal as the Gunners lost 2-0 on Sunday.

Arsenal were beaten by two late goals from Villa duo Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins as the Premier League title race took another turn over the weekend.

Ian Wright: He has to get closer to him, it’s as simple as that

Manchester City beat Luton 5-1 on Saturday as Liverpool failed to jump above Pep Guardiola’s men as they lost 1-0 in a shock home defeat to Crystal Palace on Sunday.

That gave Arsenal a chance to move back above Man City while gaining ground of Liverpool in the title race but it’s now the Citizens’ to lose.

Analysing the match, Arsenal legend Wright hit out at Martinelli for “switching off” in the build up to Bailey’s opening goal of the match.

“Look at Martinelli, this is what we’ve been saying because Arsenal have been so good defensively this season,” Wright said on Premier League Productions.

👉 Arsenal humbled by Aston Villa over 26-minute period which could define their season
👉 Merson claims Arsenal star ‘pulled wool over Arteta’s eyes’ in Aston Villa ‘mistake’
👉 Liverpool and Arsenal and Blow-It Sunday: The first angry Mailbox

“Everyone has been switched on but in this instance he switches off. Bailey is his man, that’s his man in this situation. He has to get closer to him, it’s as simple as that.

“Arsenal gave Villa too many opportunities late on and they took them. Martinelli switches off at the back post. He realised too late. That’s the difference.

“The margins are so small and the same thing happened against Bayern, a couple of lapses in concentration and they were punished.”

Wright later added on X: “Villa the braver team. Great performance. Loads of injuries, midweek games, better than us in everything. Unrecognisable Arsenal in that second half.”

📣 TO THE COMMENTS! Merely a blip or have Arsenal ‘bottled it’? Join the debate here

Mikel Arteta: We could not control and generate what we did in the first half

When asked if Arsenal’s season could now fizzle out off the back of the result against Aston Villa, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta replied: “If one result is going to do that then we are not strong enough.

“That’s very simple. We had one of the best performances that we’ve had all season in the first half against a really good team. It should have been three or four (goals) or more. It didn’t happen. In the second half the momentum shifted.

“We could not control and generate what we did in the first half. We conceded two very poor goals and we lost the game.

“Congratulate the opponent and stand up. Now the moment is to stand up and be counted. When you win and win and win for four months it’s very simple to do it. The moment to do it is now.”

READ NEXT: Why Liverpool, Manchester United and co are slowly turning away from obvious Premier League talent

MORE: Arsenal | Aston Villa