Mikel Arteta says he was pleased with certain aspects of Arsenal’s performance against Chelsea but having led the game for so long he was disappointed with the way his players conceded two late goals.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s header on 13 minutes was a just reward for a dominant first half an hour but Frank Lampard’s introduction of Jorginho changed the game.
The Blues dominated possession with the Italian in midfield although he should have been sent off for a second yellow card before he took advantage of a Leno howler to equalise with seven minutes remaining.
To compound matters, Tammy Abraham finished off a counter-attack late in the day as Arteta’s dream return to the Emirates was left in tatters.
“I’m really disappointed with the result and the way we conceded the goals, and the timing of them as well,” the Spaniard told his post-game press conference.
“I’m pleased with a lot of things that I’ve seen. I’m pleased with a lot of things we worked on in training that actually happened in the game, and how they bought into this. But I’m disappointed to lose the game obviously.
“We had to sustain that level for longer periods against a very, very physical team like Chelsea. We have to move on.”
Reflecting on the way his side conceded, Arteta added: “I don’t think [it’s a lack of concentration]. We’re 1-0 up, pretty comfortable even if we were defending much deeper than I like.
“I cannot think about any clear chances for Chelsea before that. The decision-making happens and it will happen again for sure, but when it happens against this type of opposition you get punished.”
Arsenal fans were incensed by the officiating as Chelsea broke this season’s record for the most fouls in a first half (13*) with a series of cynical tugs, pulls and trips. While Arteta seemed to agree that Jorginho should have been given his marching orders, he made clear that his players have to take responsibility for the defeat.
“I blame my team,” he said. “We are responsible for everything we did wrong on that football pitch. The decisions we didn’t get right, obviously. The other things we cannot control or change them now.
On the winning goal, he added: “I think we had the structure really well, we had more numbers than the opponent and were completely in control.
“I think it’s a five against three situation. It’s the structure where we need to control those sorts of situations. Then we just stepped back. They are really good in transitions.”
1959 was the last time we lost four games in a row at home in all competitions**. We have to regroup quickly because next up it’s Manchester United on New Year’s Day.