- Gunners top of the Premier League
- Taking aim at quarter-finals in Europe
- Are leaking too many sloppy goals
WHAT HAPPENED? The Gunners have been a model of consistency throughout much of the 2022-23 campaign, allowing them to make positive progress in Europe while also pulling five points clear at the top of the Premier League table. They have, however, conceded twice in their last two outings in all competitions – and four times in their last six – and Arteta admits that avoidable mistakes need to be cut out.
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WHAT THEY SAID: Arteta told reporters when asked to sum up recent performances from his side: “We are conceding too many simple goals and we’ve talked about the importance of boxes, and especially in a competition where you are in or out. [Against Sporting] we didn’t defend that well enough, and we have to do better up against our opponents. We’ve had a lot of really emotional games recently, and we made a lot of changes, meaning that cohesion needs some time. You could feel that in the first 10-15 minutes that we needed some time to adapt and to click, but if we don’t expose them, that’s never going to happen.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The Spaniard added on uncharacteristic leaks at the back: “When you concede two poor goals like we did away from home in Europe, it’s very difficult to get the positive result that we expected. I think the game had different phases, especially because we gave too many balls away, too many simple balls in our own half and we gave them hope and we gave them the capacity to go into transition moments that they are good at. In the moments we had to take control of the game and we lost a little bit of threat, especially with the front players that we are missing in our frontline. We had some positive because we showed a lot of resilience to get back in the game, but we need to defend our box much better and we have to be in the return leg to beat them.”
IN THREE PHOTOS:Getty Images
WHAT NEXT? Arsenal took the lead against Sporting through William Saliba, but then fell 2-1 behind before a Hidemasa Morita own goal ensured that they would head back to Emirates Stadium all square. The Gunners will be back in Premier League action on Sunday when taking in a short trip across London to face Fulham.