Mikel Arteta says he is ‘proud’ of his Arsenal side and says the club ‘deserved to win’ after securing a 1-1 draw with Leicester despite being reduced to 10 men.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s 20th Premier League goal of the season gave Arsenal a first half lead and looked set to earn the Gunners their fifth consecutive win in all competitions, only for substitute Eddie Nketiah to receive a red card for a high challenge on James Justin with 15 minutes remaining.
Leicester – who had goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel to thank for keeping them in the contest with a series of fine saves – pushed forward in the closing stages and made their numerical advantage count six minutes from time, Jamie Vardy turning home Demarai Gray’s cross to rescue a point for the Foxes.
Arteta was pleased with his side’s performance as they extended their unbeaten run, but says the Gunners were punished for failing to make the most of their goalscoring opportunities.
“We lost two points. I think we deserved to win the game. But when you have the chances you have to kill them. Three or four-nil and the game is over. We had to play a long time with 10 men,” Arteta told BBC Sport.
“I was agitated for a previous incident that was a red card (in the first half). The referee has made a decision and we have to learn from that, as well it is our fault because it is the fourth time since I have been here we have played with 10 men and we have to reflect on that.”
Arteta defended Nketiah after the 21-year-old was sent off just four minutes after coming off the bench, referee Chris Kavanagh overturning his initial decision of a yellow card after viewing the forward’s high challenge on the pitchside monitor.
The Arsenal boss says the youngster will learn from an incident he insists was accidental, adding his side will take the positives following an encouraging performance against a Leicester side chasing Champions League football.
“Knowing Eddie no, looking at the challenge on the camera arguably it can be a red card or not. He will learn from that because he is such a young kid,” Arteta said.
“It is where we want to head. I am really proud because a lot of things we worked on happened, the players are believing in the way we want to play, how aggressive we want to be. Just that little extra quality to finish the actions better.
“The boys played really well credit to them. I am so proud. We take the positives, keep improving and go again against Spurs and try to win.”
Arsenal remain seventh in the Premier League and next face Tottenham in the north London derby on Sunday, whilst Leicester visit struggling Bournemouth later that same evening.