Manager Arsene Wenger has accepted that it is difficult to catch up with English Premier League leader Manchester City after losing to them one nil.
The defeat leaves Arsenal 12 points off Manchester City and, even though there are still 22 games to go, Wenger knows it is a huge gap.
He said his team could have put themselves right back in the shake-up by beating Roberto Mancini's men.
But instead they have a mountain to climb after David Silva's second-half strike settled a close game.
Wenger said: "At the moment it will be difficult to close the gap on City. Unfortunately, it's a game we couldn''t afford to lose because it puts us too far behind City.
"If we had won the game it would have put us six points behind and with our full-backs coming back plus Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby. We will have a better squad in the second half of the season."
"We will obviously try but this is a game we couldn't afford to lose and that's why its difficult to take. We will continue to fight and there were a lot of positives. At the moment we need encouragement and points and we have only encouragement."