Mikel Arteta defended his team selection despite experienced players letting him down again as Arsenal engineered a fourth consecutive league defeat at the Emirates.
After Leicester, Aston Villa and Wolves, Burnley were the latest side to take advantage of the Gunners’ brittle confidence, sealing a 1-0 win courtesy of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s 73rd-minute own goal.
The visitors had been under the cosh for large periods of the game but momentum swung in their favour on the hour mark when Granit Xhaka received his marching orders after VAR alerted referee Graham Scott to a ridiculously ill-advised throat grab by the Swiss on Ashley Westwood.
After the game, the boss was asked why he persists with players who don’t seem capable of stopping the rot.
“Well we have shaken things up in other games and sometimes it has worked and other times it hasn’t,” he replied.
“I pick the team that gives us the best possibility to win the game.”
Asked if and when he might select younger players who’ve featured in the Europa League, he went on: “I don’t know, I will tell you the same thing: [I pick] the players who, in my opinion, give us the best chance to perform, and players on the bench who can do that [too].
“Some of the ones that you’ve mentioned, they’ve been with us a very short time because of injury or different situations.
“It’s not players who have established themselves in the first team but I understand that when you lose you have to try and pick somebody else.”
As things stand, Arsenal are currently five points clear of the relegation zone ahead of Wednesday’s visit of high-flying Southampton. Only bottom-placed Sheffield United are in worse form.
Asked if his players have lost focus and are panicking about the situation, Arteta said: “No, I wouldn’t say they’re panicking.
“Again, it’s my opinion, I can see it in training as well that they try and put the energy in. It’s the same today.
“A team that is struggling [like this] we don’t normally see play the way that they did today, and with the way they played against Spurs, the leaders, but again, we lost the game.
“We gave the opponent a chance and they scored. And it’s about winning football matches.”