Laurent Koscielny blamed a lack of calm in the final third as West Ham took advantage of a lacklustre performance to win 1-0 at the London Stadium.
Despite a bright start to the game, the Gunners struggled throughout to create chances in attack, falling into a pattern of pointless possession that was reminiscent of the worst performances of last season.
In the end, Declan Rice’s goal, scored three minutes after the break, was enough to condemn us to our fifth Premier League defeat of the season and our third in four away games.
“I think in the final third we needed to keep more calm and not try to find the final ball and to continue to play with movement,” Koscielny told Sky Sports.
“In the second half we didn’t stop but conceded the goal early. We had some chances and we didn’t score. It is difficult to win if you don’t score. We need to keep our ambition and our game. We can come back.
“We needed to be clean with the ball and we weren’t. In football if you give a small chance to your opponent you pay and today we did.
“When you are arriving towards Christmas you know it is a big period and it is hard to compete at the same level.
“We started the new year with a win and we prepared for this game and came here with ambition for three points but we need to keep calm and focused on how we want to play.”
There’s a possibility that we could fall six points adrift of the top four if Chelsea beat Newcastle United this afternoon. We face the Blues next weekend knowing we’ll have to win if we’re to retain an outside chance of finishing in the Champions League places.
“It is a home game against an opponent in the top four,” noted Koscielny. “We know what we need to do. We need to prepare all week for this important team.”