Another game, another Premier League defeat for Arsenal as they were beaten by Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday night. The Toffees just seemed to grind out the result and while the Gunners did have some fight in them, it just wasn’t enough to pick up a positive result. Instead, Arsenal fans now know that a Brighton win over Sheffield United today will drop them into 16th.
The club’s manager Mikel Arteta gave his own thoughts on what is rapidly turning out to be a nightmare season for the Spaniard.
On the performance:
We controlled them really well, the counter-attacks, apart from a few moments where we lost the ball inside, which is impossible to control. Then we started to look more and more dangerous in the final third, attacking this low block in front is complicated and we generated a lot of situations but they didn’t end up in big chances. Sometimes the cross, sometimes the last action or the shot and the conversion rate has been really low and is something that we must improve dramatically. And then, when we need a little bit of luck, we hit the post or we have some big chances and we don’t put them away. At the end, the reflection is a little bit similar to the last few weeks. You are better than the opponent, you dominate the game and usually when you are under this pressure and this position in the table, you get battered by teams. It’s not the case. I see the spirit in the team and how they try and how they are willing to do things the right way and I’m gutted for them as well because they needed a result and I think we played a game that we had to get something out of.
On whether the tempo was too slow:
I think in the first half, in the first phase, it was slow. Whether it was because the players were a little bit restricted or because they don’t want to make a mistake or just because we felt that it was comfortable to do it. But in the second half it was much better. We talked about it at half-time that the speed has to be much quicker, with the movement and the intention to attack the spaces and we did it much more efficiently but it wasn’t enough to score more goals.
On having 14 points after 14 games:
Well, the season highlights at the moment the situation we are in in the Premier League. We’ve done really well in Europe, really good in the cups and we are struggling to get results in the Premier League. Again, when we analyse every game, the reasons why we are losing football matches, compared to other teams winning them, the margins are small. But we need those margins very quickly before the situation gets impossible to handle.
On Aubameyang’s injury:
We want him back as quickly as possible. He has a small strain and he will need a few days. I don’t know if it’s a week or two weeks, it will depend how the injury evolves.
On it feeling like Groundhog Day in this post-match press conference:
Yes, but the opponents are not generating anything. We lost against Burnley without them generating a single shot on target as well. This is how teams win a lot of games in the Premier League and at the moment we are not going to generate 15 or 20 chances against blocks like that, it’s not realistic. When we have done accurately enough to finalise those actions, there is a bad combination. Sometimes it’s that we play with 10 men, the other week was obviously an own goal, today we obviously conceded an own goal. It’s a lot of things happening at the same time and when that happens then it is difficult.
On whether his position becomes untenable if this run continues much longer:
I understand that. My energy and my focus is only on getting the team out of that situation, maintaining the spirit on the team and the fight the boys showed every time they go on the pitch. You can see that, you cannot deny that. Obviously, again, the results – there is no question about that, it’s not good enough and it’s not acceptable for the standards of this football club and this is the challenge and the fight that we are against.
On how much pressure he feels currently:
Obviously it’s a really complicated situation, but I am very encouraged from what I see from the players to continue doing what we are trying to do. We think that of course we have to improve, but I think we’ve been very, very unlucky not to pick up many, many more points.
Quotes courtesy of Arsenal.com
Where do Arsenal go from here?