Mikel Arteta described Arsenal's 1-0 Premier League defeat to Southampton as a "huge" missed opportunity in their bid to claim a Champions League qualification place.

Jan Bednarek scored the only goal of the game on the stroke of half-time as the Gunners slumped to a third straight top-flight defeat.

Arsenal would have moved level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham had they won, with Antonio Conte's side suffering a last-gasp loss to Brighton and Hove Albion earlier in the day.

As it is, they ended Saturday in sixth after Manchester United's 3-2 win over Norwich City saw Ralf Rangnick's men leapfrog the Gunners into fifth.

Arsenal were the dominant side at St Mary's, taking a whopping 23 shots and enjoying 76 per cent possession.

There have been 11 instances of a team failing to score having taken 20 or more shots in a Premier League match this season, with Arsenal responsible for three of those.

While frustrated at missing the opportunity to take advantage of Tottenham's slip-up, Arteta believes on another day his team would have won comfortably.

Asked if it was a missed opportunity at a media conference, Arteta responded: "Huge, because for somebody that doesn't know the result and is watching the game, you know what they will tell you… that Arsenal won the game, and we didn’t. It's very disappointing, and difficult to explain with words.

"But this is sport, it’s what makes it different to any other, because in basketball you have 25 shots and the winner has one and you win 10 out of 10 times.

"At the end of the day it is decided in the boxes. They scored one goal, and for the amount of time that we spent around the box, the shots that we had, and the situations and the clear-cut chances that we had; we didn't put them in the goal.

"I can’t remember a game where Arsenal has played with this team, where they have created and dominated in a game more and better. 

"We have to win football matches and we have to score more goals, and that’s a problem we have at the moment."

Arsenal started with a front three of Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka, with Alexandre Lacazette self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19. 

Arteta refused to criticise the trio but suggested Arsenal would not have drawn a blank had a more experienced forward been on the pitch. 

"It is what we have," he added. "The players that we have, they haven't done it in this league. When you have a world-class player that has been playing in the league for 10 years, probably you are not sitting here.

"But I am the first one to defend them, to support them. You see how hard they tried. What happened today might happen the next week or the next month."

Arsenal are back in Premier League action on Wednesday when they travel to Stamford Bridge for a derby with Chelsea, before taking on Manchester United at home next Saturday.

Sean Dyche deserves a statue outside Turf Moor after his dismissal by Burnley, according to Brentford head coach Thomas Frank.

Burnley opted to sack Dyche on Friday, with the announcement a surprise despite the Clarets' relegation battle – they are 18th in the table and four points adrift of safety.

Dyche's side had managed just one win from their past seven matches, with five defeats in that streak, but many have questioned why Burnley parted ways with their manager after nearly a decade-long association.

He guided the Clarets to five straight survivals in the Premier League, having previously followed promotion in his first season with relegation back to the Championship.

Dyche, who led Burnley into Europe for the first time in 51 years, was also the longest-reigning manager in the league but now becomes the 10th different boss to lose his job in the top tier this season.

Frank believes Dyche's efforts should be celebrated as he expressed confusion over the decision of the Clarets board.

"They got promoted. They got relegated. They got promoted again. They've been here, what, six or seven years in the Premier League? It's remarkable what they've done," he said.

"Sean Dyche and his coaching staff, everyone involved with the football club, have done an unbelievable job. Sean Dyche deserves a lot of credit – they should build a statue of him outside Turf Moor.

"I remember there was one year when [you thought], 'How can he not be Manager of the Year?'. So, I think he's done a top job."

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher labelled the decision a "joke", as he posted on Twitter: "If you [Burnley] had given him a decent budget you would never have had a worry about getting relegated."

Veteran Roy Hodgson, who is attempting to battle the drop with Watford, was similarly bemused by the news.

"Of all the people in the league, he would have been one of the ones I would have thought most likely to survive anything like this, so I have no idea what's happened," Hodgson said.

"Something must have happened because you don't part company with a manager like Sean Dyche after all the fantastic things he's done for that club over the last 10 years. He has built the club."

Brighton and Hove Albion head coach Graham Potter also added he was "surprised", while Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta heaped praise on Dyche.

"He gave the club a really clear identity, he's managed to keep the team, with one of the smallest budgets, consistently in the league," the Arsenal boss said. 

"I wish him the best of luck and as always with colleagues, it's sad when you see those decisions."

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta expects more "twists" as the Gunners fight with north London rivals Tottenham for Champions League qualification.

Arteta's side seemingly turned a corner in 2022 as they surged to fourth in the Premier League, but consecutive losses against Crystal Palace and Brighton and Hove Albion have handed the advantage to Spurs.

Antonio Conte's team sit three points ahead of fifth-placed Arsenal, who have played a game fewer, as the pair contest alongside West Ham for a place in England's top four.

But Arteta, speaking ahead of the clash with Southampton on Saturday, insists there should be more changes and drama expected as the season heads towards its conclusion.

Asked who was in control of the top-four push, he responded on Friday: "Whoever manages to win more games and play better.

"There's going to be some twists still for sure and the pressure and situation is going to keep changing between now and the end of the season. We have to be focused on us and what we have to do.

"Every game [is important], but obviously when you lose, the next game takes more importance and we know that."

Arsenal are set to visit Tottenham in the penultimate week of the season in what is being billed as a decider for the final Champions League spot, but Arteta does not feel more pressure despite the rivalry.

"I think it's related to our history and we want to be not fourth, but third, second or first, and that's what we have to do," he added.

"That's always within every supporter and anybody who has any connection with the club, so the moment you see the team doing better and having better aspirations, your tendency is to get excited about it and I think that's the right reaction."

Arsenal began their 2021-22 campaign with three consecutive league losses in August, and defeat at Southampton would reproduce the same unwanted feat.

Arteta's team are in much better stead now, but the Spaniard dismissed suggestions that the Gunners would have settled for fifth in the Premier League after their abject start.

"At the start of the season? You cannot take anything because you don't know how things are going to develop," he continued.

"You could ask me a week into the season or two weeks before, I could maybe give you a different answer, but no, no."

Alexandre Lacazette has not scored from open play in the league since a strike in December against Southampton, who he has been involved in seven goals in six top-flight appearances against.

Reports suggest Lacazette missed training in midweek, but Arteta assured there is a "good possibility" he will play, while he hailed Bukayo Saka, who is the only English player to have registered both 50-plus shots and 50 or more chances created in the competition this term.

"He's a great kid, and he has a really clear idea of what he needs to expect," he said of the England international. "The better he does, the more difficult they are going to try and make it for him, that's for sure.

"I think he needs the protection that all the players need at this level, nothing different, nothing special.

"The best players and the talented players are always going to be, closely looked at, and they are going to close the space and they are going to be tight on them.

"Bukayo has to recognise that is going to be the case. Referees have to recognise that as well, early in the game, and then try to protect them."

Mikel Arteta urged Arsenal to respond against Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday after a shabby performance at Crystal Palace slowed their Champions League push.

The Gunners had surged into top-four contention, but an underwhelming outing at Selhurst Park in a 3-0 reverse on Monday condemned them to a second loss in their last three Premier League games (W1), having lost just one of their previous 11 (W9 D1).

North London rivals Tottenham, who cruised past Newcastle United 5-1 on Sunday, occupy the final place in England's top four, though they are level on points with Arteta's side, who have a game in hand.

Manager Arteta called for a reaction from his team when they host Brighton, who have not defeated, or even scored against, Arsenal in their last three league meetings.

"Monday is gone. We're looking forward to playing in front of our fans," Arteta said in a pre-match news conference on Friday.

"We have to play better and we have to compete much better than we did on Monday. [The setback] has happened and it's happened with nine games to go, and we have to react now.

"We have to show tomorrow the energy, the commitment and the passion that we want to play the game tomorrow in front of our fans. Embrace the challenge."

Matters were made worse against Patrick Vieira's side after it was confirmed Kieran Tierney could miss the rest of the season with a knee injury, and Thomas Partey continues to be monitored for a thigh problem that will keep him out for "some weeks".

"You lost, now you want to win, it's hurting and it's still hurting. We lost two big players, two really important players for us for sure," Arteta said.

"But whenever that happens you can't cry for it because they are not going to be available for us. So we have to find other solutions, and we have to be as good and as competitive as we have been."

 

Nuno Tavares was hooked off at half-time as he endured a torrid outing at left-back against Palace, with Jordan Ayew's strike a combination of his and Gabriel Magalhaes' fault through miscommunication.

However, Arteta assured the young Portugal defender he will bounce back from his mistakes.

"Throughout your career you have to go through difficult moments, and he's had some really good periods since he arrived at the club, and he was playing many more minutes than he was probably expecting," Arteta said of Tavares.

"That's the life of a player, especially at that age. There's ups and downs, and we are here to try and help him and make his career better, and that's what we're going to do.

"He is ready and he is willing, and he will be disappointed, but it's part of the job and we have to make decisions to try to win football matches. There is nothing personal there."

Crucial to Arsenal's hopes against Brighton will be the performance of Alexandre Lacazette, who has not scored from open play in any of his last 16 appearances across all competitions.

That amounts to 22 hours and 28 minutes without an open-play goal for the former Lyon striker since his last against Southampton in December, but Arteta expressed his support.

"Laca's contribution to the team in many other ways has been phenomenal," Arteta said.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has said that Kieran Tierney's knee injury "does not look good", with the defender set to see a specialist, while Thomas Partey's fitness is also a concern.

Tierney played twice for Scotland across the international break, but did not feature for the Gunners as they slumped to a 3-0 loss at Crystal Palace on Monday.

Following the defeat at Selhurst Park, Arteta confirmed that the left-back had felt a problem that will be further assessed in the week, though the initial prognosis is not positive.

"He came back from international duty and felt something wrong in his knee," Arteta told BBC Sport.

"There is some damage there. We will hopefully know more on Tuesday but it's not looking good.

"He is seeing the specialist on Tuesday and we will know more about the extent of the injury but the feeling that he had wasn't really positive and what the scan showed either. We have to wait and see what happens."

Arsenal potentially lost another key player to injury as they head into the run-in, with Partey going off with an apparent hamstring injury.

"I don't know but he felt something in the same area that he got injured previously so that's a big concern," Arteta told his post-match news conference.

Arsenal's defeat leaves them in fifth on goal difference, though they do have a game in hand on fourth-placed Tottenham.

Mikel Arteta acknowledged Arsenal have to accept criticism and apologise after they were thumped 3-0 by Crystal Palace in a demoralising London derby defeat.

Arsenal saw their hopes of finishing in the Premier League top four damaged on Monday as their run of five straight top-flight away wins ended in emphatic fashion.

Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jordan Ayew had Palace two goals up inside 24 minutes and a second-half penalty from Wilfried Zaha ended any hopes of a Gunners comeback.

The defeat leaves Arsenal fifth in the table, behind rivals Tottenham on goal difference, though they still do have a game in hand.

"From the beginning we were not at the races," Arsenal boss Arteta said to Sky Sports.

"When you come here you have to compete. You have to win duels and second balls and be aggressive – we were none of those.

"On top of that we were really poor on the ball. We were really inconsistent on the ball and that is unacceptable.

"It is time to accept the criticism, put your hand up and apologise because this performance was not good enough for this club and then react. 

"Congratulations to Palace because they deserved to win for the game they played. They always play like this.

"We are humble enough to accept the criticism. You don't feel sorry for yourself because we lost players and a football match.

"We made it impossible for ourselves with the way we competed. You have to be physical and run and then you earn the right to play. 

"We were poor, especially in the first half. I apologise to our supporters. We didn't have the presence or the composure to dominate the situation so that is what I'm most annoyed with."

Arsenal had 12 shots compared to Palace's six, yet the hosts got five of their attempts on target with the Gunners only testing Vicente Guaita three times.

Arteta added: "When we had the big chances we didn't score to give ourselves the best chance to get back in the game. 

"We tried in the second half, we had three or four big chances but the only half chance they had they got a penalty.

"First of all we need to put our hands up and get the criticism we deserve. Then we accept it, look ourselves in the mirror and look to the next game.

"This was not good enough. Some days you are not there and you are late all the time. They got on top of it and had a good atmosphere and we could not get out.

"We have to face the challenge and the opportunity is in our hands. We have to be honest with ourselves and support each other."

The loss was the first time Arsenal had been beaten by three or more goals in a Premier League London derby since suffering a defeat by the same scoreline to Palace in 2017, while the Eagles have now scored seven goals across their last two games in all competitions without conceding in return.

Arsenal have won just one of their last eight Premier League clashes with Palace (D5 L2), after winning nine of the 11 before that (D1 L1).

Arteta's side will look to bounce back when they host Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

The north London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham has been rearranged for Thursday, May 12, the Premier League has confirmed.

The Gunners caused a stir in the middle of January when they successfully appealed for their clash at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to be postponed, citing a COVID-19 outbreak within their squad.

The league opted to reschedule for a later date, despite Arsenal – who had injury problems, Granit Xhaka suspended and four players at the Africa Cup of Nations – reporting just one positive coronavirus test.

Questions were raised over the legitimacy of the postponement, with Spurs announcing they were "extremely surprised" at the decision, and Antonio Conte reminded Mikel Arteta he had not forgotten the call-off in March when the Spaniard bemoaned scheduling issues.

Nevertheless, the fixture will take place on the penultimate week of the season, just 10 days before the conclusion of the Premier League, and could decide who secures the final Champions League spot.

Tottenham overtook their local rivals on goal difference on Sunday with a 5-1 thrashing of Newcastle United, but Arsenal can reclaim fourth spot with victory at Crystal Palace on Monday.

Even after the visit to Selhurst Park, Mikel Arteta's Gunners will still have a game in hand on Conte's top-four chasers.

However, the rearranged derby has also brought more changes to the schedule of Arsenal, who will now face Leeds United on Sunday, May 8 and Newcastle on Monday, May 16 either side of the Spurs clash.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is not willing to be drawn into mind games with Tottenham counterpart Antonio Conte and is instead focused on getting the most out of his players.

Conte last week stated that Spurs would require "a miracle" to finish fourth place in the Premier League.

Tottenham increased the pressure on Arsenal by hammering Newcastle United 5-1 on Sunday to leapfrog their north London rivals into the final Champions League qualification spot.

However, the Gunners are only behind Tottenham on goal difference and have two games in hand, the first of those coming away at Crystal Palace on Monday.

Conte's comments were perceived as being psychological tactics ahead of a potentially tense run-in that will see the fierce rivals do battle in a rescheduled game.

But Arteta, who was named Manager of the Month for March, is only interested in deploying such tactics internally.

"I don't know if we are favourites [for the top four]," Arteta said. "That is a question for [Conte]. 

"But what we want to do is very clear and the perception of what people think is not going to change it."

When asked if he is a manager who wants to engage in mind games, Arteta replied: "I do it more with my players, I think.

"I do it more with the players, if I have to, to get what I want from them. I can't tell you how I do it because they will know what they are doing and that is the whole point!"

Arsenal have won six of their past seven games ahead of their trip to Palace, who are managed by Gunners midfield legend Patrick Vieira.

Arteta's side have won each of their past five away top-flight matches, which is their best run since a streak of eight in a row between March and September 2013.

That is a remarkable turnaround following their worst start to a Premier League campaign when losing their first three games, and Arteta is confident his young squad can maintain their form.

"There is nothing different; they have already been dealing with [the pressure] for weeks," he said. 

"This is a conversation we have had now for over six to eight weeks, so they have already been through that and have responded really, really well.

"There is nothing new because they have already been doing it and capable of doing it."

Arsenal have lost just one of their past 16 away league games against Palace (W8 D7), though that defeat did come in a Monday game back in April 2017 (3-0).

Mikel Arteta was named the Premier League's Manager of the Month for March, earning his second award of the season.

The Arsenal manager's win was announced on Friday, making him the first Gunners boss to be recognised twice in the same campaign since Arsene Wenger in 2007-08.

Arteta – the Manager of the Month in September after three wins from three games – was rewarded for his side taking nine points from four matches.

Four other teams matched Arsenal's March points haul, including Chelsea and Liverpool – both of whom had 100 per cent records.

But Arteta was chosen ahead of either Thomas Tuchel, who dragged Chelsea through a tumultuous month off the field, or Jurgen Klopp, whose Liverpool team handed Arsenal their only defeat.

Crucially, Arsenal climbed from sixth at the start of March to fourth entering April, leapfrogging West Ham and Manchester United.

Heading into this weekend, Tottenham are now Arsenal's closest top-four rivals in fifth, three points back having played a game more.

Arsenal's next match is at Crystal Palace on Monday, when they will be looking for a sixth consecutive away league win.

The Gunners' existing run of five is their longest since September 2013 (eight) and longest in a single season since May 2002 (also eight).

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta remains uninterested by the other teams in the Premier League's top-four race, insisting it is all in the Gunners' hands.

Arteta's side have lost just one of eight top-flight games since a 1-0 defeat to Manchester City at the start of 2022, surging up the table to fourth in the league.

Arsenal are three points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham, who have played a game more, as they push for Champions League qualification, with their next fixture coming away at Crystal Palace on Monday.

That means Spurs, Manchester United and West Ham will have all played before the Gunners are in action at Selhurst Park, but Arteta does not see the late game as an advantage over his competitors.

"We're going to focus on what we can do. That's the only thing we can control," he told reporters at Thursday's pre-match news conference. 

"Through the TV we can suffer and we can enjoy and there's not much else we can do. What we have to do is win the football matches that we need to achieve what we want and that's all in our hands."

Aaron Ramsdale missed the 1-0 win at Aston Villa last time out, with Bukayo Saka scoring the winner before the teenager withdrew from international duty with England due to COVID-19.

Arteta confirmed Saka has returned to training, but the clash with Patrick Vieira's Palace may come too soon for Ramsdale, who suffered a muscle injury in a 2-0 loss to Liverpool earlier in the month.

"Bukayo is feeling good," he added. "He's training today hopefully if he's still feeling as he was yesterday. Aaron, it's a doubt. He's still feeling not great, he hasn't trained yet so we don't know what he'll be able to do on Monday.

"He wanted to play against Villa but it was a significant injury and he had to take his time and the physios are doing everything they can. We will see more in the next few days when he starts to do real training."

Meanwhile, Takehiro Tomiyasu nears a return from a calf injury that has kept him on the sidelines since early January.

"I think it will be close. He's been training more and more. He has the boys back now, so he will be joining some sessions this week, and let's see how it is," the Spaniard said of Tomiyasu.

The Premier League also announced the reintroduction of five substitutes from the start of next season, a decision that Arteta is glad to see introduced.

"I'm glad that in the end, we have unified the criteria with the whole of Europe," he said on the rule change. "It's now how we do it and how we manage it. There will be some changes because that gives you different opportunities and tactically the chance to make some changes.

"I think the most important thing is that you manage the load of the players much better. Make sure we don't slow the game down too much and I think it's good. It gives the players opportunities to be on the pitch, which is what they want to do.

"The options you are given to change the game, to refresh the game, to change in many different positions which is something you are always restricted to do, and probably the timing of the subs because when you have three the last sub is always in the back of your mind and if you make it too early you can pay the consequences. So that gives you more flexibility."

Tite has issued an apology to Mikel Arteta following reports he was in talks to take a job at Arsenal after the 2022 World Cup. 

The Brazil boss will leave his position with the Selecao when his contract expires after the competition in Qatar at the end of this year. 

It was reported last week that negotiations for Tite to take a job at Emirates Stadium were already under way, but the 60-year-old has categorically denied that is the case. 

Tite branded the information in the media "a lie" and insisted his sole focus is on leading Brazil to a successful campaign in the Middle East. 

"Regarding the information given, my feeling is one of sadness. I'm sad because the information given to the public is a lie. The information is a lie," Tite told a news conference. 

"And the people I represent and who identify with me, rest assured, because I have morals, value my professional activity and know the responsibility of the Brazilian national team. 

"Sorry, Arsenal. Sorry, Arteta. It didn't come from us. There's nothing, absolutely nothing. 

"In a moment of widespread fake news, of information that isn't true, it saddens me. My word is that there is no one, neither me nor Gilmar [Veloz, his agent], who can talk about it." 

Brazil take on Bolivia in a World Cup qualifier on Tuesday, and a win would guarantee they finish top of the CONMEBOL standings. 

However, Tite acknowledged his team will have to change their approach due to the "inhumane" conditions at the Estadio Hernando Siles in La Paz, which sits at over 3,600 metres above sea level. 

"We always have an expectation, regardless of the adversities we're faced with," said Tite. 

"The team won't be as attacking as in the past few games because it's not possible, it's inhumane, there aren't the conditions for it. 

"There are other strategies [like] keeping possession. Of course, you can't continue with the same rhythm, the pace that we have played with in home games or in normal conditions." 

Bukayo Saka insists Arsenal must "stay humble" despite strengthening their Champions League qualifying hopes with victory over Aston Villa.

The England international netted the only goal – the Gunners' 2,000th in the Premier League – as the visitors consolidated their top-four status, moving four points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United.

Mikel Arteta's side have now recorded five successive away wins in the Premier League for the first time since May 2015, while registering a 13th clean sheet of the campaign – their highest number since 2015-16 (18).

Saka maintained his impressive form on the road, having now been involved in six goals in his last five league appearances away from Emirates Stadium, scoring five and assisting one.

The 20-year-old hailed his team-mates' defensive efforts as they saw out another important win, while urging them to continue to strive for their goals.

"To win today was big. To get the result and three points makes us really happy," Saka told BT Sport. "We started very well. The early goal helped us get into the game, but we need to start finishing games to prevent things from getting too nervy.

"The goal set us up; we created a few chances before and after, but that goal put us in the driving seat.

"The Champions League is the goal, but we've got to stay humble."

Arsenal last appeared in the Champions League in the 2016-17 season, so to return would be a sign the club are moving in a positive direction.

Manager Arteta is taking many plaudits and praised the players who recorded Arsenal's 13th Premier League away win over Villa – the joint-most they have registered over any side in the competition, matching their total against West Ham.

"We talked before the match about the need to be sharp and physical. We controlled the game," Arteta told BT Sport.

"We could have scored more and that is where we have to take the team. We have to put chances away; in the Premier League, you cannot dominate 96 minutes, this is impossible, but I'm really pleased with how we competed in every phase of the play. I'm really proud of the boys.

"They are showing character, courage and quality. You can see the connection they have. It is phenomenal to watch.

"If you want to be a top team, you have to win home and away. We are doing that consistently, and we have to continue. We really want [the top four] and we are going to give it a go."

Mikel Arteta has challenged his Arsenal players to aim for between 90 and 100 goals next season if they are to build on this campaign and challenge for the Premier League title.

Arsenal are well positioned to end their five-season wait for Champions League football as they sit fourth in the English top flight with games in hand on the chasing pack.

The gap on top-two sides Manchester City and Liverpool stands at 19 and 18 points respectively, however, albeit having played one game less than both teams.

Arteta believes a lot of that can be explained by the attacking output of each side, with Arsenal having scored 43 goals so far, compared to 68 for City and 75 for Liverpool.

Arsenal have been tipped to strengthen their squad in the next transfer window, and manager Arteta is fully aware exactly where his team needs improving if they are to push on.

"To be with the top teams this season you need to score 90 to 100 goals at least," he said. "Somehow you need those goals in the team. 

"Don't ask me how, but you need them. They have to come. That contribution, how it's done, you have to find the right pieces to do it. It's non-negotiable."

Arsenal's 43 Premier League goals this season – one of which was an own goal – have come from an expected goals (xG) return of 42.7.

That means the Gunners have scored about as many goals as you would expect from the quality of their shots, netting from a xG of 0.1 per shot.

No Arsenal player has made it to double figures for goals this term in the league ahead of Saturday's trip to Aston Villa, with Emile Smith Rowe their leading scorer on nine.

By comparison, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling (both 10) are into double figures for City, as are Sadio Mane (12), Diogo Jota (13) and Mohamed Salah (20) for Liverpool.

Players of such quality do not come cheaply, but Arteta insisted a goalscorer – or goalscorers – can make all the difference when it comes to challenging for major honours.

"If you look at the history of [successful] football teams, they always have that," he said. "You look at the Barcelona team that won six titles; they scored 100 goals for three years. 

"If you don’t need that then you need to have 30 clean sheets. In the last 11 games, if we can score 11 goals and concede zero we're going to win 11 games. 

"Or we can score 35 and concede, and we're still going to have 33 points. But in a very different way."

Pressed on Arsenal's transfer business in the upcoming window, and whether it was important to continue focusing on youth, Arteta said: "We have to find the right piece. 

"When we find that player, maybe the top priority won't be the age in that position. Maybe in another one, yes. So we'll have to get that right."

Antonio Conte called on Mikel Arteta to remember the postponed clash between Tottenham and Arsenal, after the Gunners' manager fumed at the Premier League schedule.

Arteta vented his frustration after a 2-0 loss to Liverpool on Wednesday, sarcastically thanking the league for their scheduling, which sees Arsenal visit Aston Villa in Saturday's early kick-off.

Arsenal also face Chelsea and Manchester United in quick succession next month, on April 20 and 23, and the Spaniard doubled down on his comments ahead of the clash with Villa.

Arteta suggested "we've been the only team that has been scheduled like that", citing the short turnaround time as a problem for players' welfare heading into the crunch period of the season.

Spurs head coach Conte was quick to remind his north London rival of the situation in January that left Tottenham "extremely surprised" following the postponement of the derby with Arsenal, who were granted a rearrangement due to COVID-19, injuries and the Africa Cup of Nations leaving them with a "depleted squad".

When asked about Arteta's recent comments, Conte told Friday's pre-match news conference: "Arteta should remember the game postponed, Tottenham-Arsenal.

"In general, I think my answer is enough. If someone wants to think about fair or unfair. We postponed the game, Tottenham-Arsenal. I don't forget this. And it's not right to speak about fair or unfair."

Spurs host fellow top-four chasers West Ham on Sunday, currently sitting three points behind fourth-placed Arsenal, who have played one game fewer.

While Conte believes the meeting with David Moyes' side may be too soon for Oliver Skipp, the Italian hopes to have the midfielder back after the international break.

"About Skippy, I hope to have him after the international break," Conte said. "His pain is getting better and better.

"About Ryan [Sessegnon], we're waiting for weeks to have another scan and then if everything is OK he'll restart training sessions with us."

The former Inter and Chelsea coach was also keen to praise Cristian Romero, who he feels will be a key player with the right guidance.

"Cristian is a player who has to be focused in every moment of a game," he added. "If he's good, he's focused from the start, from the first to last second of the game and he's a really important player for us.

"He has a bit to improve in this situation, to be focused on every moment of the game. Sometimes he gets a yellow card he can avoid. He has to improve in this aspect, to be focused from the start to the end.

"Sometimes you can't explain this in a good manner - you have to shout! But he's a good guy and he understands that what I do is always best for the team and himself.

"He has quality to be a great defender so it's important to find the right way to improve the player."

Mikel Arteta has taken aim at the Premier League again for its scheduling of Arsenal's games ahead of his team's trip to Aston Villa on Saturday.

The Gunners face Villa in the early kick-off, having played Liverpool on Wednesday.

After the 2-0 defeat to Jurgen Klopp's side, Arteta was sarcastic in his response when asked about Arsenal's upcoming fixture schedule that also includes facing Chelsea and Manchester United in quick succession next month (April 20 and 23).

"Thank you so much to the Premier League for doing that," he sarcastically told reporters on Wednesday.

"And they've done it again when we have to play Chelsea and Manchester United. So if they want to give them any advantage, I say to them today: 'Thank you so much for doing that'."

Speaking at a media conference ahead of the Villa game, Arteta reiterated his stance, saying that it is only his team who have been "scheduled like that".

When asked if he stood by his comments, he replied: "I do because I'm talking about the Premier League. I heard some comments about mixing up being away in Europe and how it's nothing new.

"It's nothing new to me, but I'm not complaining about Europe, I'm complaining about the Premier League and how you schedule games in the Premier League. When you are in Europe, it's a different story. What I'm comparing is the Premier League and it's very difficult.

"We've been the only team that has been scheduled like that."

Arteta later clarified: "The first thing is to protect the players. We have mentioned many times 'can we please avoid doing Wednesday night and Saturday morning' and travelling and all those kind of things. I understand that they have the commitments and the TV, we all understand that.

"If you do it once, okay, but don't do it twice because we still have to [play] Spurs, what are we going to do? Are we going to do it for a third time? Are we going to be the only ones to do it? You can accept that but you don't want to be silly either."

Arteta also had words of praise for his opposite number on Saturday, Steven Gerrard. The former Liverpool midfielder moved to Villa from Rangers earlier in the season, where he had enjoyed success, and where Arteta himself used to play.

"I think he's done very, very well [as a manager]," he said. "What he did at Rangers is remarkable and I don't know if he gets the credit that he should because I played there and I know how that club works.

"How he turned it around and what he's doing at Villa. I think so far he's done really well."

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