A goalkeeping error by Alex Runarsson tilted the tie in City’s favour just after half-time, putting Pep Guardiola’s team 2-1 ahead, before the current cup holders strode away soon after following Alexandre Lacazette’s first-half equaliser.
It means that the Gunners are without a win domestically since November 1, with their only victories since then coming in the Europa League against Molde, Rapid Wien and Dundalk. It’s seven without a win in the Premier League and they face fifth-place Chelsea next, before games against teams down at the bottom in Brighton and West Brom – which Arteta now says are key clashes for 15th-placed Arsenal.
Despite that, he feels there are enough players at the club up for the challenge and is unsure whether Arsenal will dip into the January transfer market to help ease their woes.
“A lot of strange things are happening every game and that makes things difficult,” he told Sky Sports at full-time.
“We have to turn it around. We are in big trouble, that’s the [upcoming] moment that will decide our season.
“I’m focused on the fighters we have. I see a lot of fighters. We are looking at options, players coming in and out and we’ll see what happens in a complicated window.”
On the match itself, Arteta acknowledged that the cup exit was another disappointment – but gave Runarsson his backing despite a horrible mistake, and stated regular first-choice goalkeeper Bernd Leno needed a time-out after a recent run of games.
“We started the game, conceded a soft goal. After that, in the moment we are, it’s difficult. The way we conceded [the second] against this level of opponent they make it really difficult and you’re chasing it.
“He [Runarsson] hasn’t played a lot of games, he’s arrived [new] to the league and that’s it. We all make mistakes and we have to support him. Yes [I thought about starting Leno] but he has played minutes, he needed a rest and we want to give chances to other players. These things happen in football.
“When you give away this type of goal against this level of opponent it makes the game impossible.”