Arteta in shock after Arsenal thumped by Liverpool


LONDON — Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta admitted he was “in shock” after his side were outclassed in a 3-0 home defeat by Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday.

Arteta’s side barely laid a glove on the visitors and were undone by two second-half goals by Diogo Jota and one by Mohamed Salah, although the margin of defeat could have been bigger.

It left Arsenal down in ninth spot and Arteta with much to ponder after his 50th league game in charge produced a display he described as one of the worst in his tenure.

“We completely deserved to lose the game. They were better in every department and deserved to win the game with the margin they had, or even more,” the Spaniard said.

“I accept responsibility for the way we played today. It is my fault. I have to set the team up to perform in a different way and that is it. At the moment I am in shock.

“I didn’t expect that because of the way the team trained. It is a challenge. A challenge brings an opportunity. If you have courage and you represent a club like this, you have to stand up and take it.”

Arteta’s win percentage in the league from his first 50 games in charge is only 42%, compared to his predecessor Unai Emery’s 49% from his 51 games at the helm.

Kurt Zouma has urged Chelsea to “react strongly” after Thomas Tuchel’s unbeaten start came to a stunning end in Saturday’s 5-2 thrashing against West Bromwich Albion.

Chelsea boss Tuchel had gone 14 games without defeat in all competitions since replacing the sacked Frank Lampard in January.

But Zouma was part of a Chelsea defence torn apart by struggling West Brom after his fellow centre-back Thiago Silva was sent off in the first half at Stamford Bridge.

After seven successive clean-sheets, Chelsea slumped to a damaging defeat that puts their hopes of a top four finish in the Premier League in danger.

The Blues take on Porto in Seville in the Champions League quarterfinal first leg on Wednesday and Zouma admits they need an immediate response.

“The result speaks for itself. Everyone is very disappointed, but it’s just one game and we need to get back to what we were doing before the international break and, hopefully, we will get back to it as soon as possible,” Zouma told Chelsea’s website.

“There is no time to find excuses. We didn’t win the game, we lost badly, and it’s a very difficult game to swallow, but we have to because we’ve got another game in midweek and we have to prepare for that.

“We have to bounce back. We have to react strongly and this is what we are going to do.

“I don’t know what happened. After the international break, maybe a loss of focus, maybe a lack of commitment, but in a game like that you have to always be 100%. Why we didn’t play 100% I don’t know,” he said.

Christian Pulisic is a doubt for the Porto clash after the Chelsea winger suffered a hamstring injury against West Brom.

Tuchel revealed Pulisic picked up the issue when attempting to return to the pitch for the second half.

Meanwhile, Kevin De Bruyne says Manchester City’s focused approach has been key to the leaders’ surge towards the Premier League title.

Pep Guardiola’s side beat Leicester 2-0 on Saturday and need just three wins from their final seven games to secure a third title in four seasons.

Goals from Benjamin Mendy and Gabriel Jesus sent City 17 points clear of second-placed Manchester United, who face Brighton on Sunday.

City’s 15th successive away win in all competitions was especially impressive as it came against in-form Leicester and with many of Guardiola’s players just back from a draining international period.

“They played defensive and we had to be patient. That is what we did and I was happy for Mendy to break the deadlock,” De Bruyne told City’s website.