Per Mertesacker said Arsenal lacked any cutting edge in the final third and admitted that Chelsea were worthy victors in yesterday’s derby at Stamford Bridge.
The Gunners didn’t register a shot on target in the Premier League for the first time since September 2003 and were made to pay either side of half time by Eden Hazard’s penalty and Diego Costa’s lob.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the 2-0 loss, the German international struggled to find any positives.
“Obviously we were more competitive this year. That was the first target today, to be much better than last year. Overall we have to admit at times we were good, but not good enough to score a goal here.
“In the final third [we weren’t good enough]. We defended quite well, there was always cover, there was always protection. In the final third we had a couple of decent possibilities to come through but we missed the last pass or the last touch.”
Asked whether his defensive partner, Laurent Koscielny, was lucky to stay on the field in light of the penalty conceded for a trip on Eden Hazard, Mertesacker continued:
“He [the referee] took the decision right. We were a bit lucky but overall I think it’s a fair decision.
“We defended better, that’s what we take [from the game] but we have to admit they were better, still better…and we have to learn quickly.”
Our first defeat in the league (and third of the season in all competitions) leaves us nine points behind Chelsea and eighth (on goal difference) in the Premier League standings. Somehow even Van Gaal’s laughable United have managed to squeeze into fourth, suggesting they’re not as dead and buried as some might have hoped. Right now, it doesn’t look pretty.
That being said when you look at the fixtures coming up, there’s a real opportunity to try and build momentum before the end of the calendar year. We start with Hull at the Emirates on the 18 October before facing Sunderland, Burnley, Swansea, Manchester United, West Brom, Southampton, Stoke and Newcastle. After that it’s four games over Christmas and New Year.