Mat Ryan’s emotions were as mixed as the balls in a lottery tombola after being beaten after just 74 seconds on his Arsenal debut.
The Aussie keeper, a boyhood Gunners fan growing up in Australia, made a surprise loan switch to the Emirates from Brighton last month.
Stepping in for the suspended Bernd Leno, Ryan could do little about Ollie Watkins’ deflected winner at Villa Park after recovering from a hip injury, but he said: “It still hasn’t quite sunk in that it’s my childhood club that I grew up supporting that I’ve just played for.
“I’m sure it’ll start to sink in a bit now that I’ve got a moment to reflect on it. I wanted the perfect start with the result but it wasn’t meant to be.
“I was just thinking that there’s a greater power in life. Things happen for a reason, even the situation with Bernd.
“We competed, but we were just that little bit slower out of the blocks than they were. You don’t even need to make a mistake or be off your game to get punished at this level.
“That happened in the first initial minutes and they made us pay for it.”
The defeat leaves Arsenal in tenth having also lost at Wolves during the midweek round of games.
Arteta had overseen an upturn in form since the New Year but the Gunners have been bought back down to earth.
Errors continue to hinder their progress and the manager insists that is what separates them from the league’s elite.
“Those teams they don’t make those mistakes,” the Spaniard said when asked about a top four push.
“Those teams they cannot play in the first 22 games of the season four or five times with 10 men. It doesn’t happen.
“There is not a team in the world that can sustain that.
“And still if you make an error, you concede early, the team has to react. And the team reacted and we had more than enough to still come back and win the game.