Mikel Arteta spoke on his frustration after Arsenal’s title hopes suffered a blow with a 2-0 defeat to West Ham at the Emirates.
Goals from Tomas Soucek and former Arsenal defender Konstantinos Mavropanos condemned Arteta’s side to a disappointing defeat in North London, despite the Gunners having 74% of the possession and firing 30 shots at goal in a wasteful performance.
West Ham had just three shots on target in comparison, but converted two of those in a clinical showing. Soucek’s goal came despite calls that the ball had gone out in the build up, though VAR decided there was not enough evidence to disallow the midfielder’s effort, before Mavropanos headed in a James Ward-Prowse set-piece.
It could have been even worse for Arsenal, after Said Benrahma saw a stoppage time penalty – conceded by ex-West Ham captain Declan Rice – saved by David Raya. The loss leaves the Gunners second, two points behind leaders Liverpool.
“Congratulate West Ham and praise my players. That’s what I can tell you. This is football,” Arteta said at his post-match press conference.
“When you look at how much we generated in the game, to see the result is very disappointing. But they were better than us in both boxes. They had two shots, – with the penalty three. We had 30, I don’t know how many touches in the box, how many situations, how many opportunities to score and we haven’t done it. In football you have to do that better if you want to win. Today we haven’t won because of that.”
Arteta was asked whether his side need to improve in the final third, having had a huge 77 touches in the West Ham box without scoring. The Gunners have been linked with signing a centre-forward in January.
“We have to put the ball in the net and win it. The two situations we have to defend the box, we didn’t defend it well enough,” Arteta added.
“They are a team that is really good in the box with their timing, with the quality they have in their front players arriving. That’s what made the difference today. It’s a very disappointing night for us because I think we should have got more from the game.”