The Gunners were made to pay for a string of individual mistakes against the champions, with Kevin De Bruyne and Jack Grealish taking advantage of errors by Takehiro Tomiyasu and Gabriel Magalhaes respectively to score crucial goals.
De Bruyne’s opener came from an awful Tomiyasu back-pass, while Gabriel was robbed of possession high up the pitch before City broke to restore their lead through Grealish in the second half after Bukayo Saka had equalised from the penalty spot.
Speaking after the defeat, which saw Arsenal knocked off top spot in the Premier League for the first time since August, Arteta said: “It’s exceptionally difficult to play at the level they require you to play to have a chance to win. I thought in many moments we did and we had them, but if you give three goals the way we did and don’t put away the big chances we had, then the margin for error is almost zero. It’s a shame because we really had them.
“I don’t know if it’s experience or bad luck. I’ve never seen Tomiyasu make that pass back in seven years and he did it today. It’s part of it and they have the quality to punish you.”
When asked how difficult it will be to pick his players up after such a morale-sapping defeat, Arteta added: “We have to pick [up] the points, because the performances are there for sure. Games are decided in the boxes and we have given too much away today and weren’t ruthless enough to convert our chances. That’s what we have to improve.
“Psychologically there is a marathon still out there. I said it three months ago and I said it today, it’s about tomorrow. The most important thing is how we are tomorrow and focus on that because the rest, we don’t know what is going to happen.”
The Gunners travel to Villa Park in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off as they look to get back to winning ways.