Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta made no excuses for his side’s 2-1 defeat to Chelsea on Sunday, insisting the blame is with his players for failing to protect a first half lead.
Arteta’s first home game in charge of Arsenal ended in defeat following an entertaining London derby clash with their city rivals at the Emirates, Chelsea staging a late comeback to score twice in the final seven minutes through Jorginho and Tammy Abraham to snatch victory.
Arsenal began the contest brightly and dominated for much of the opening hour, taking the lead through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s early header before tiring in the second period as the visitors grew into the contest.
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard’s alteration away from a back three helped the Blues gain greater control of proceedings, though Arteta suggested his side struggled to match the physical demands of the Spaniard’s game plan for the entirety of the ninety minutes.
‘More than something related to the organisation, physically it was tough to maintain the level Chelsea play at the moment,’ Arteta told his post-match press conference.
‘We are asking them to do something different, to play at a different pace, much more aggressive and at the moment they suffered. We had a lot of injuries, we’re putting demands on young players.
‘I don’t think that they didn’t want to do it or that they were scared, I think it was just too physical for them in the end.’
Chelsea’s equaliser also came in controversial circumstances, midfielder Jorginho tapping home at the back post moments after the Italian international avoided what looked like a second yellow card for a foul on Matteo Guendouzi.
Arteta refused to blame refereeing decisions for his side’s defeat, however, insisting they must take responsibility for a lack of control that resulted in Abraham’s late winner and a home defeat.
‘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.’
Arsenal sit in 12th after today’s result, with Manchester United set to visit the Emirates on New Year’s Day.