Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta expressed his disappointment over the team’s lack of focus after blowing a two-goal lead against West Ham on Sunday.
Despite Gabriel Jesus and Martin Odegaard putting Arsenal ahead in the first 10 minutes, the Hammers fought back to secure a 2-2 draw. The result has dented Arsenal’s title aspirations, with Manchester City now just four points behind and a game in hand.
Arteta believes the team grew complacent after going 2-0 up and blames the loss of focus for the missed penalty by Bukayo Saka and the subsequent equalizer by Jarrod Bowen just two minutes later. This was the second game in a row that Arsenal had surrendered a two-goal lead, after doing so previously against Liverpool.
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“Very disappointing. The way we started was superb again, we were in total control, then we lost purpose,” he told Sky Sports.
“We gave them hope, conceded a terrible penalty, then credit to them. We got on the roller coaster where everything is going, corners and throw-ins, and we never got away from that.
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“The purpose we needed for a third and fourth goal, I didn’t see it.”
The first goal West Ham scored was a result of Thomas Partey’s error in possession, which allowed Declan Rice to take the ball from him before Gabriel Magalhaes committed a foul.
Bukayo Saka missed a penalty that could have restored Arsenal’s two-goal lead, following Michail Antonio’s handball. Despite this, Arteta took a philosophical approach to the youngster’s missed opportunity, attributing the result to Arsenal’s lack of focus.
“A player who takes penalties misses penalties, I don’t know anyone who hasn’t,” Arteta said of Saka.
Arsenal will look to bounce back against Southampton on Friday, before they face City in a potential title decider on April 26.