MIKEL ARTETA left Villa Park with the hump as Ollie Watkins served up another harsh reminder for the misfiring Gunners.
Arsenal’s boss headed home from the West Midlands for the second time in four days nursing a sense of grievance as a gutsy show from Dean Smith’s men poured salt into open wounds.
It was a painful start for new Gunners keeper Mat Ryan too – signed on loan from Brighton in January, and here in place of banned Bernd Leno.
The Aussie’s hopes of a clean sheet on his Gunners debut lasted just 74 seconds.
Arteta was miffed at a couple of refereeing decisions that didn’t go his way, but ultimately instead of pointing the finger of blame at the officials’ room he had greater cause to censure his own players.
In Wolverhampton on Wednesday night he was irritated by David Luiz’s dismissal.
Here it was a tackle on the halfway line and a penalty decision that annoyed him as ref Chris Kavanagh came under his microscope.
But the reality was that a slow start and the calamitous error which led to Watkins’ winner left his team with a difficult afternoon against opponents who had been left smarting from their own midweek disappointment against West Ham.
The Spaniard delivered his verdict through gritted teeth. Arteta said: “It was a really strong performance – again.
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