Mikel Arteta explains Martin Odegaard substitution as Emi Martinez declares Arsenal 'love'

The Gunners boss spoke after Arsenal’s title chase took a dent with a 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta admitted he was forced to substitute captain Martin Odegaard during the defeat to Aston Villa due to injury.

Villa produced an excellent second half performance to stun Arsenal at Emirates Stadium, with Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins scoring late goals for Unai Emery's side.

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League leaders Manchester City are now two points clear of the Gunners who are ahead of Liverpool on goal difference.

Norway international Odegaard was brought off in the second half and Arteta confirmed after the game that it was because of an injury, rather than a tactical decision.

"He had a leg issue, that's why [he was taken off],” said Arteta.

Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez revealed after the game that he will “always love” Arsenal, following back-to-back wins against his former club.

"I think it was 10-11 years I was here,” said Martinez.

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“I've still got friends here. I came here as a lad and left a man. I'll always love this club.

"They are still second, they've come far and have one of the best managers in the world. I've worked with Mikel [Arteta]. I know how good he is."

Meanwhile, Arteta has urged his players to bounce back in the Champions League quarter-final second leg against Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

The Gunners travel to the Allianz Arena with the score tied at 2-2, while Arteta remains hopeful that his players can surprise the German giants on their own patch.

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"We can't control [Manchester City]. What we can control is that when we have the run we had when you win, win, win, win, it's easy. The moment is now. After this blow, it's how we react.

"We have the best opportunity to react against Bayern Munich on Wednesday. The team has to show it. If you want to win, you have to overcome these situations.

"With the games we had, this was going to happen. It is now about how we react. This is in our control."

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