We gave them hope instead of killing the game – Mikel Arteta

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta did not hide his disappointment following an early 2-0 lead that slipped off yesterday against West Ham. Arsenal had taken complete control at London Stadium after a scintillating opening 10 minutes, in which Gabriel Jesus and Martin Odegaard both scored.

But, for the second weekend running, Arsenal were made to settle for a point after Said Benrahma and Jarrod Bowen netted for the hosts either side of half-time.

“The result is very disappointing, as well as the performance, especially after the first 30 or 35 minutes,” Mikel said in his post-match interview.

“We started the game incredibly well, dominating it with real purpose, scored two beautiful goals. After that, we made a huge mistake, just to think we could play around them.

“We didn’t have the same purpose to attack the opponent’s goal, and protect that result by having the ball. We gave them hope – instead of killing them in this moment, we gave them hope.

“They realized that there was a chance there and they started playing extremely direct. We could not handle that game. After that, obviously when you concede the two goals in the way we’ve done, then at the other end of the pitch you have to do things better. This is another turning point – at 2-1 [if] you score that penalty it’s 3-1, two minutes later it’s 2-2. This is part of football – for me, the main thing is how we reacted after [leading] 2-0.”

The draw saw Arsenal extend their lead at the top of the table to four points – although they have played a match more than Manchester City. Southampton visits Emirates Stadium on Friday and the boss is keen for the team to take the lessons learned in east London into that fixture.

“This is what we need now,” Mikel said. “Don’t take anything for granted – we need to win matches in this league. Today we did exceptionally well for 35 minutes but then it [was] not enough.”

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