Mikel Arteta was left frustrated as his side self-destructed their way to a thirteenth league defeat of the season as Everton claimed the spoils at the Emirates.
Arsenal were largely in control of a game that lacked quality in the attacking third from either side but contrived to lose when Bernd Leno fumbled a Richarlison cross through his own legs for the only goal of the game with 14 minutes remaining.
The tone for a miserable evening had been set six minutes after the break when VAR overturned a penalty, awarded for a Richarlison foul on Dani Ceballos, because Nicolas Pepe was fractionally offside in the build-up.
“We were the better team but there are certain decisions that we can’t control,” Arteta told Sky Sports.
“To disallow a penalty 15 seconds before – [we had] eight or nine touches [after Nicolas Pepe was offside] – I saw it 10 times and I don’t get it. It can be taken the way they want. Zero control. Somebody has to explain that.
“We were the better team. We lacked some clear-cut chances and the edge in the final third. They are very well organised but we conceded the goal in the wrong moment and when we had the penalty but it wasn’t given.”
He went on to label Arsenal’s home form “terrible” and “unacceptable.”
In conversation with the BBC, Arteta also touched on Leno’s own goal: “Errors are part of football, we conceded an own goal that defined the game at the end. We didn’t create enough against a team that is well organised, we lacked clarity in the final third.
“We need to go through the disappointment and focus our energy, the semi-final is more than crucial for us. I don’t want to use any excuses, I understand the protests.”
Arsenal now have six days to regroup before facing Villarreal in the first leg of our Europa League semi-final. We didn’t want to put all eggs in one basket, but they are certainly in there now.