Mikel Arteta admits Arsenal should have beaten Fulham but tried to put a positive spin on two dropped points by praising the way his players snatched a late equaliser.
The Gunners fell behind midway through the second half to Josh Maja’s penalty – awarded when Gabriel stepped on the toes of Mario Lemina – and had to wait until the eighth minute of stoppage time to get on the scoresheet.
Eddie Nketiah pounced at the back post after Alphonse Areola kept out Dani Ceballos’ deflected strike. VAR, which had earlier ruled out a header by the Spaniard, allowed the goal to stand after Rob Holding was adjudged not to be in the keeper’s line of sight.
While a point stretches the Gunners’ unbeaten run to four games, it was a frustrating afternoon for Arteta with striker Alex Lacazette limping off with a suspected hamstring injury.
Facing the Sky Sports cameras, he said: “We started really well, controlling the game and creating chances, scoring a goal that was disallowed, in a very disappointing way, we kept going and didn’t allow any shots on target and suddenly we concede a penalty and the game changes completely.
“We took risks in the right way, we could have scored three or four, we totally deserved to win the match but put ourselves in a difficult position.”
Eager to put a more positive spin on things given his side’s impressive victory against Slavia Prague on Thursday, he added: “We have to just focus on the boys playing away in Europe and arriving here with the desire to go all the way to the 97th, 98th minute.”
Whether Arteta will be able to call on Lacazette in the coming weeks remains to be seen. The Frenchman seemed to be in considerable pain when he pulled up with 20 minutes remaining. Given the Gunners are also without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was hospitalised last week with malaria picked up on international duty, the boss may have to rely on his youngsters to get goals.
“He felt his hamstring so we don’t know,” said the boss about Lacazette’s issue. “We have to rotate players, we have players who didn’t recover from the game on Thursday. That is the risk. You cannot change those players every game.
“We had 16 shots, probably not enough on target, goals disallowed, a post, that is the difference, you have to win this game.”