Mikel Arteta said Arsenal were “nowhere near” the required level as they were downed 2-0 by PSV Eindhoven in Holland.
The Gunners endured an off night from start to finish at the Phillips Stadium and were fortunate not to be two goals behind by the break after Cody Gakpo and Xavi Simon had strikes ruled out for offside.
There were to be no lucky breaks in the second half. Joey Veerman’s decisive finish broke the deadlock on 56 minutes and substitute Luke de Jong doubled the lead with his head after Aaron Ramsdale flapped at a corner.
Arteta tried to inject a sense of urgency into the performance with a series of substitutions and a change of shape but the men in black just couldn’t find any flow. It was, by a long way, Arsenal’s worst performance of the season and adds to concerns that the squad are running out of steam at the end of a busy October.
“I’m very disappointed,” the manager told Arsenal.com. “It’s the end of a long run, where we won a lot of games and today is our first defeat [since the start of September] and we have to reset. Congratulations to PSV – they were the better team today. We were nowhere near our level and we know that in Europe, it’s very difficult to win [then].
“We didn’t get any control. We didn’t get the ball in the areas we wanted. We gave so many balls away, which allowed so many transitions, which was what they were looking for whenever they got in the right structure. They were on top of a lot of things that last week was different.”
Tomorrow, Arteta and his players will analyse this evening’s showing before turning their attention to the visit of Nottingham Forest on Sunday.
Last time out the newly-promoted side beat Liverpool, so there’s no room for resting on our laurels. Arteta was also quick to point out that it’s not all doom and gloom.
“We are in a really good position,” he said. “We’re disappointed tonight but there’s no time to feel sorry for ourselves. We have to react. On Sunday, we have a really important game, and then we’ll look at Zurich.
“We have to be much better than we were today. We knew what they were trying to do and the way we executed certain actions, the way we competed, it wasn’t good enough.”