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Mikel Arteta takes responsibility for Arsenal’s absence of ‘spirit’ after heavy defeat by Aston Villa

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta admits his team cannot compete with the best sides in the Premier League unless they start scoring more goals after a heavy 3-0 defeat against Aston Villa.

Villa left the Emirates Stadium on Sunday night with a well-deserved win as a Bukayo Saka own goal and Ollie Watkins’ double settled the game in their favour.

The margin could have been greater had John McGinn not seen a goal ruled out by VAR in the opening minute.

Villa now sit sixth in the table, three points off top spot with a game in hand over all of the teams ahead of them, but Arsenal have slipped out of the top half of the table and now sit six points off leaders Leicester City down in 11th.

Despite having improved defensively since Arteta’s arrival in December, their attacking statistics have dropped off of late.

Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has not scored from open play in the league since the second weekend of the campaign and has had just 10 shots across Arsenal’s opening eight matches.

“That’s a team function and a collective thing that we have to do more,” Arteta replied when asked if he needed to do more to get Aubameyang back among the goals.

“We certainly are getting in…