Mikel Arteta urges Arsenal to rise to unique Premier League challenge after unfamiliar setback

Steven Chicken
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta did his best Charlie Sheen impression in discussing Arsenal's recent form

Mikel Arteta insists his Arsenal side can only concentrate on themselves after ceding the advantage in the hunt for the Premier League trophy.

Manchester City had started the weekend in third place behind Liverpool and Arsenal, but their title rivals both lost on Sunday afternoon to allow Pep Guardiola’s side to remain top following their 5-1 win over Luton Town on Saturday.

Arsenal need to bounce back after unbeaten run ended by Aston Villa

Arsenal had claimed 31 of a possible 33 points thanks to an 11-game unbeaten league run that began with the turn of the new year, only for it to come to an end at Aston Villa’s hands courtesy of a late double from Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins.

Arsenal and Liverpool both now sit two points behind City, with Jurgen Klopp’s out-of-sorts Red having lost at home to Crystal Palace just before the Gunners’ own defeat.

READ MORE: Arsenal humbled by Aston Villa over 26-minute period which could define their season

But Arteta is now keen to see how his side recover from their first real setback for quite some time, starting with their Champions League second leg clash with Bayern Munich in midweek.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Arteta said: “We cannot control that. What we can control is when you have the run that we had and you win, and you win, and you win, and you win, and you win, and you win, and you draw, and you win, win, win, win, win, it’s easier to stand up and stand here and easy to be around with the flow.

Arteta: ‘In any other league Arsenal would be six or eight points clear’

“The moment is now. After this blow, how we react…we have the best opportunity to react on Wednesday against Bayern Munich. Now the team has to show it and now we have to make sure we react in a way that if you want to win, you have to expect to overcome situations.

“It was going to happen at some stage. Now how we react to it, that’s going to be the key.

“What you can control is how you are going to feel now, the way you talk now, the way you react, and the way you look ahead to what is happening on Wednesday, and this is in our control.

“With the amount of games that we have won in a row, in any other league in the world you are six or eight points clear. That is not the case now and this is the challenge.”