Arsenal Boss Mikel Arteta

Richards Pinpoints Arteta Mistake That Cost Arsenal The Title

Former Manchester City man Micah Richards has claimed one tactical mistake from Mikel Arteta cost Arsenal the Premier League title. According to Richards, Arteta made a blunder by not deploying Kai Havertz as a ‘False 9’ in the defeat against Aston Villa at home.

Arsenal Suffered Their Only League Defeat Of The Year To Aston Villa

Arsenal enjoyed a fine 2023-24 Premier League campaign, snagging a club-record 28 victories in 38 games. Unfortunately, it still was not enough to win them the coveted English top-flight title. They finished with 89 points, just two points shy of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.

The Gunners were sensational in the second half of the 2023-24 season. They picked up a whopping 49 points across 18 Premier League games in 2024, dropping points in only two games. On March 31, they played out a goalless draw with Manchester City. Then, a fortnight later, they suffered a shock 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium.

The north London side had their strongest XI at their disposal, but the Premier League aspirants could not breach Villa’s defense. Then, in the final minutes of the game, Unai Emery’s side landed two blows through Leon Bailey (84′) and Ollie Watkins (87′), sealing a remarkable victory.

Micah Richards Claims Mikel Arteta Made A Title-Losing Mistake Against Aston Villa

According to Richards, the defeat against Aston Villa was due to a bad tactical call from Arteta. He believes the Spaniard should not have deployed Havertz in midfield, as he was having a grand time as ‘False 9.’

On the Rest is Football podcast, the Englishman said (via The Boot Room):

“I just go back to that Villa game, Arsenal v Villa at home.

Arteta chose to go with Havertz in the midfield area instead of the false nine which has worked so well for them. Could’ve went with a Jorginho or Partey. Emery, on the day, tactically got it spot on. So, yeah, disappointed.

As per Transfermarkt, former Chelsea man Havertz played 13 Premier League games as a ‘False 9’ in his debut season at Arsenal. He only started featuring in that role regularly toward the end of February. By the end of the season, he had scored eight goals and claimed six assists in 11 matches playing there.

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