Arsene Wenger has blamed his side’s 6-3 defeat at the Etihad against Manchester City to fatigue and also criticised the performance of referee Martin Atkinson.
Arsenal played Napoli in Italy in the Champions League on Wednesday night, followed by the early kick-off in Saturday’s English Premier League tie, and the Gunners boss has admitted that the congested fixture schedule had played a part in his side’s poor performance.
"The referee had a bad game," Wenger said.
"We did not quite have that freshness you expect to see.”
“I do not want to look for excuses after a defeat like that; we made too many mistakes running after the score and should not have conceded six goals, but the game on Wednesday did not help,” the Frenchman added.
“The situation was not ideal, but what hurts me most is that we missed the chance to go nine points ahead of City. They were not unbeatable. They are one of the teams with a chance, of course, but I would not say they are the best team we have played this season. Everton were as good as Man City, and so were Southampton."