Mikel Arteta watched Arsenal completely control Chelsea in the first half yesterday and Frank Lampard’s team looked punch drunk and on the ropes the longer the first half went on.
But the Gunners simply couldn’t continue at the same pace in the second half and allowed the Blues to come back into the game and ultimately claim all three points in the last ten minutes. Our new coach was a bit critical of our decision-making on the pitch as we tried to hold on to our lead.
Arteta told Arsenal.com after the game: “I’m really disappointed with the result and the way we conceded the goals, and the timing of them as well. I’m pleased with a lot of things that I’ve seen. I’m pleased with a lot of things we worked on in training that actually happened in the game, and how they bought into this. But I’m disappointed to lose the game obviously. We had to sustain that level for longer periods against a very, very physical team like Chelsea. We have to move on.
“I don’t think [it’s a lack of concentration]. We’re 1-0 up, pretty comfortable even if we were defending much deeper than I like. I cannot think about any clear chances for Chelsea before that. The decision-making happens and it will happen again for sure, but when it happens against this type of opposition you get punished.”
To be fair to the players, they were magnificent in the first half and the mentality has improved drastically, but of course our recent habit of throwing away leads when in control must have been laying on their minds.
There were, as usual, the contentious decisions from the ref and VAR, but Arteta refused to use that as an excuse. In fact when asked directly if he blamed the players or the referee, he replied: “I blame my team. We are responsible for everything we did wrong on that football pitch. The decisions we didn’t get right, obviously. The other things we cannot control or change them now.”
It was a cruel end to a great game for Arsenal fans, and our appalling record of one win in 15 games is not going to give us much hope for the New Year- We will just have to have hope for Man United’s upcoming visit, but at least there were many positive things on the pitch yesterday..