Saturday, December 9News That Matters

Mikel Arteta points finger at Arsenal stars after ‘worrying’ West Ham draw

Mikel Arteta conceded Arsenal’s failure to manage the game when they were leading 2-0 against West Ham is a “worry”.

The Gunners surrendered their lead to draw against the Hammers, which cost them two points in the Premier League title race.

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are now hot on their heels after they let a two-goal lead slip for the second time in the space of only seven days.

Against West Ham, Arsenal found themselves 2-0 up within the opening ten minutes through goals from Gabriel Jesus and Martin Odegaard.

But they were unable to see the game out with the hosts equalising through Jarrod Bowen in the 54th minute. It left Arteta concerned by his side’s game management as the pressure continues to ramp up at the top.

The Spanish coach said: “We started extremely well again – dominated the game, dominated the pitch and scored two beautiful goals. After that, we made a huge mistake to stop playing with the same purpose to score the third and just think we could play around them and maintain that result. It looked too easy and at that moment we gave them hope and they took it.

“They did what they did really well – they started to play extremely direct, with long throws and winning corners. We really struggled to get out of that game. If you don’t defend your box the way you should, with the two goals we conceded, you have to do many things much better for longer periods in the match.

“There was another moment, where you can go 3-1 up after 50 minutes, and the game is probably over… then two minutes later, you concede a goal. But this is part of football. My worry is after 2-0, we made that huge mistake and didn’t understand what the game required in that moment.”

Martin Odegaard is still confident given Arsenal are in control of their destiny, despite seeing the gap reduce: “We have to remember we are still top of the league with everything in our own hands. The same mindset, same mentality to make sure we win the next one.”

Arsenal’s next game sees them host Southampton, who did pick up a point against them in the reverse fixture.

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