Having built up momentum off the back of an impressive festive period, hopes were high coming into February that Arsenal might mount a serious challenge for a Europa League spot and possibly even more.
After two defeats in a week, those dreams have been hit for six.
While the Gunners are within a couple of wins of four sides above us, if there’s a winner tomorrow between Leeds and Crystal Palace, we’ll be back down in 11th place with tough games coming up against Marcelo Bielsa’s side, Manchester City and Leicester.
After watching his side lose 1-0 to Aston Villa, Arteta knows his side have made a costly stutter just when we might have cranked the pressure up on those sides above us.
“It’s a big blow,” he replied when asked how damaging defeat is to his hopes of qualifying for Europe.
“When you consider the performances that we’ve put in in both games [against Wolves and Villa], we’ve got zero points out of that. We just give the opponent the game.
“We need to come back. We’ve done it this season and we have to do it again.
“We have a week now to prepare for the next game against Leeds and then focus on that, keep maintaining all the right things we are doing and the way the team is evolving. We need to stop certain things that are costing us the games.”
The boss went on to lament a lack of ruthlessness in the final third at Villa Park and an early mistake at the back by Cedric that allowed Ollie Watkins to put the home side in front inside two minutes.
Comparing Arsenal to those challenging for the title, he said: “Those [top-four] teams don’t make those mistakes. Those [top-four] teams cannot play four or five times in the first 22 games of the season with 10 men. It doesn’t happen. There’s not a team in the world that can sustain that.
“If you concede a goal early or make an error, the team has to react. The team reacted and we had more than enough to still come back and win the game.
“If you don’t do one thing, you have to do the other. If you are not ruthless enough in the opponent’s box then of course you are going to lose the game.”