Arsenal’s failure to convert a host of big opportunities coupled with all too familiar brittleness in defence made for another frustrating evening for Mikel Arteta as the Gunners were pegged back at the death by Slavia Prague in the first leg of our Europa League quarter-final.
While the performance was far from our best, the chances spurned by Bukayo Saka, Alex Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ensured a game that should have been out of sight prior to Nicolas Pepe’s late goal went right down to the wire.
In his post-match interview with Arsenal.com, the boss couldn’t hide his disappointment at familiar issues coming to the fore again.
“We should have scored more goals, for sure, and once we had the result, we conceded a corner after not managing well the situation and conceding from there, which is a big blow,” he said.
“In Europe, you’re not going to have 10 chances against a top opponent. When you have those big chances, you have to put them in the net.
“You want to give yourself the best chance to go through in the competition.
“Today we haven’t done that and on top of that, we conceded a late goal from a set-piece, which is disappointing, and it points the tie in a completely different position from what happened today on the pitch.”
Arteta knows his side must score in Prague to have a chance of progressing to the semi-finals. Given we’ve not kept a clean sheet in 14 games, it seems likely we’ll have to do that more than once.
“I think psychologically to go there at 1-0 is completely different to the 1-1,” he said in his press conference.
“Now we know that we have to go there and win the game and we have to score goals. We cannot play any games, we have to go there with the determination to be an attacking team and hurt them.”
If you’re looking for good omens, we’re unbeaten in 11 games away from home in the Europa League and have never conceded a European goal in Prague.
Stats courtesy of @Orbinho.