Arteta blames ‘fatigue’ on Arsenal’s loss to Leicester after being pleased at first half ‘aggression’

Mikel Arteta has blamed Arsenal’s late 1-0 defeat to Leicester on ‘fatigue’ following his side’s first half ‘aggression’ at the Emirates.

Arsenal suffered their second straight Premier League defeat following a late loss to Leicester on Sunday evening, Jamie Vardy coming off the bench to score the only goal of the game and inflict the Gunners’ first home defeat of the calendar year.

The north London side had the majority of possession but often looked short of imagination, clear-cut chances at a premium against Brendan Rodgers’ visitors who defended with both organisation and resilience.

Alexandre Lacazette also saw a goal controversially disallowed for the hosts, who lost at home to Leicester for the first time in more than four decades, the Gunners now sitting 10th in the division with three wins and three defeats from their opening six fixtures.

However, despite their latest loss, Arteta was pleased with his side’s pressing play and aggression in the opening period and believes Arsenal were unfortunate to come away with nothing from the clash.

“To be fair I was really pleased with the first half, the way we pressed, the aggression we showed against a team that are very capable of breaking that pressure and creating chances against you,” he told his post match press conference.

“We were very effective against that, we were on top of the game, we restricted to nothing, we had the right opportunities to attack good space and create some chances. We scored a goal as well on a set piece, I don’t know how it was disallowed.

“Then after that in the second half against a really low block you have to be patient and not make any error because this is what they are waiting for: they just need a moment to catch you on the break or with some space and we made the decision when there is no pressure on the ball to try to attack that space and they scored a good goal.

“After it was difficult in the last 15 minutes, even with three strikers on the pitch we didn’t manage to have enough continuity in our play and we gave too many free kicks away, we didn’t put the ball as often as we could in the box. But credit to them for what they have done but I think it is a very harsh result for us considering what happened in the game.

Arsenal’s intensity notably dropped during the second period and Arteta believes ‘fatigue’ may have played its part in their lack of aggression, bemoaning his side’s lack of sharpness and purpose on a frustrating evening for the home side at the Emirates.

“I think fatigue had a say as well. We didn’t look as sharp on the ball. We didn’t have as much purpose on the ball to create.

“Obviously, David [Luiz] was giving us something different when we had to attack the low block with his ability to attack the line and provoke, always threatening in behind. We lacked that a little bit in the second half.

“Still, credit to them, they are really organised when they do that. It is really difficult to create the chances. We created a really good one with Hector again and we didn’t convert. That’s the difference at the end, in the box, what we are able to do. Certainly, it’s an aspect that we have to improve.”

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