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Micah Richards slams Mikel Arteta for one decision he made against Aston Villa

Micah Richards has now identified two Arsenal players he believes Mikel Arteta should have started from the beginning against Aston Villa.

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Micah Richards has faulted Mikel Arteta’s lineup decision following Arsenal’s loss to Aston Villa on Sunday evening at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal’s hopes for a first Premier League title since 2004 were dealt a significant blow following the 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Late goals from Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins sealed the fate of Mikel Arteta’s side, marking their fifth league defeat of the season and leaving them trailing behind in the title race, now led by Manchester City.

Speaking on ‘The Rest Is Football,’ former footballer Micah Richards weighed in on Mikel Arteta’s selection decisions, particularly regarding the midfield lineup.

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Richards expressed surprise that Arteta did not opt to start either Jorginho or Thomas Partey, believing that their inclusion could have provided the necessary control and energy in the midfield against a formidable opponent like Aston Villa.

The pundit highlighted the importance of having players like Jorginho and Partey, who bring both defensive solidity and attacking prowess to the midfield, especially in a game where Arsenal faced significant pressure from Villa’s energetic style of play.

Richards suggested that the absence of players like Jorginho or Partey contributed to Arsenal’s struggles in midfield during the match, as they lacked the necessary stability and steel to counter Villa’s advances effectively.

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Richards explained: ‘In terms of the energy that Aston Villa bring when you have Jorginho and Partey, who has come into the team recently as well, I just thought it was a game for them.

Jorginho and Partey

Micah Richards says Jorginho and Partey would have brought stability to the Arsenal midfield. (Image Credit: Getty Images)

‘It’s one where you look back, and Arteta is a manager, he has to make the decision, but at times in the second half, they got overrun in midfield. It was too easy for Aston Villa.

‘They needed a bit more steel in there, even if we look at Declan Rice and his position – he can play holding or as a number eight.

‘But when Partey or Jorginho doesn’t play, they just don’t have the same stability,’ the former Manchester City man remarked.

Looking ahead, Arsenal faces a challenging series of fixtures, including a Champions League quarter-final decider against Bayern Munich and Premier League clashes with Chelsea, Tottenham, and Manchester United. Mikel Arteta and his charges may have stuttered against Villa, but there is still a good chance of finishing the season with a trophy.

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