Gerrard admits he has concerns over future; Arteta hails Arsenal first half against Villa

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Steven Gerrard during a match Credit: PA Images
Steven Gerrard during a match Credit: PA Images

Mikel Arteta and Steven Gerrard gave contrasting post-match interviews after Arsenal beat Aston Villa 2-1 on Wednesday night.

The Gunners put in a terrific first-half display and were unfortunate to only be ahead by one goal after 45 minutes.

Arteta believes his side’s display in the opening half of their home win against Villa was “probably one of the best” he has witnessed as manager.

“I’m really happy with the result. It’s so tough to win in this league,” he told BT Sport.

“The first half was probably one of the best we have played. We could have scored three, four, five. We didn’t kill the game and then in this league, the game is alive.

“In the second half, obviously, the game was a fight. They really stretch you, they play really directly, there are a lot of second balls, actions, fouls and it became a little bit of a transitional game where you don’t finish the actions when you have spaces to attack and they’re going to come at you.

“Without really allowing anything to them – one corner – we conceded a goal and then it’s game on again. But the team reacted again incredibly well and I think we deserved to win the game.”

Speaking to BBC Sport, Arteta added: “I was very pleased especially in the first half. We were really dominant and at it and created chance after chance.

“The regret is that we didn’t score four or five. In this league you never get two halves exactly the same and I think we responded really well in key moments to show character and resilience to win the game.

“It is about cohesion, understanding and chemistry. You can see the way they link and threaten.

“The atmosphere is incredibly helpful for the team. We are winning games and deserving to but there are still a lot of things we can do better.”

Gerrard, on the other hand, is concerned after Villa made it four losses in their opening five Premier League fixtures.

Many believe he could be the next manager to lose his job following the sacking of Scott Parker, and the former Rangers boss was asked about the subject following his side’s latest defeat.

Asked if he has any concerns about his future as Villa head coach, Gerrard said: “Of course I do. I am really honest and critical of myself. If I stood here and said I wasn’t concerned I think you’d look at me as though I was from a different planet.”

On the match, Gerrard added: “We worked ever so hard to stay in the game and stay with Arsenal. I think technically they were a level above for 45 minutes. Because of our technical level we kept giving the ball back.

“We improved a lot second half and had some really interesting breakaways. Douglas provides a bit of magic to get us back in the game. Again we concede two goals because we didn’t get the detail of our defending right.

“Of course the keeper [Emiliano Martínez] could have done a bit better for us for the second one but he kept us in the game for large parts of it as well. At the moment we a struggling to keep clean sheets and we need to get back to basics.”

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