Arsenal’s frustrating start to the season continued on Sunday as they limped to a 0-0 draw with newly promoted Leeds United.
The Gunners were second best throughout the game and found themselves hanging on for the majority of the second half after winger Nicolas Pepe was shown a straight red card for a headbutt on Leeds left-back Ezgjan Alioski shortly after the break – something Mikel Arteta described as ‘unacceptable’.
Here’s what the boss had to say after the game.
“We have to take a point considering the circumstances. I’m never satisfied with a point but we know the challenge we faced in the second half for 45 minutes with ten men.
“The way that we reacted to it, the resilience that we showed and all the effort the players put in to try and overcome that disadvantage. Credit to Leeds as well they had the chances to score.”
“I’m cross because obviously I want to win. When I don’t win I’m upset. We had a really difficult week for different reasons. We lost two players on the international break, a player who wasn’t in condition to start, we lost two players today [Sunday] and one through suspension. We have an incredible amount of games coming up.
“The fact we need to score more goals is a concern but I’m really happy because I know how much this team has evolved in a lot of things. The first one is the resilience, the ambition and the belief they showed against playing with ten men. This is growing as well and a very positive thing but obviously there are things we need to get better at.”
Arsenal actually have a negative goal difference at this point in the campaign, having scored just nine goals all season, and it’s been almost eight hours since the Gunners found the back of the net from open play.
“It worries me obviously. We need goals to win football matches and be the top team that we want to do. Without that it’s impossible, it doesn’t matter how good we are defensively.
“It’s not the lack of attacking players that we have on the pitch all the time, but we need some moments where the players have to be more ruthless. It’s the most difficult thing in football. Sometimes we go through these patches and we have to overcome and I have to help the players do it as quick as possible.
“I think we’ve been working really good defensively, it’s just that flair and creativity sometimes that the players need to make the last action which is the most difficult thing in football. It’s not that you’re not creating the chances, we have to create more and have we have to be more consistent in the final third with the amount of things we finish and how we finish them.
“It will come and the reality is that we have not had much continuity in the players for various reasons which is very important to get the understanding right with them.”
Saka came off the bench shortly after Pepe’s dismissal but limped off in injury time after being on the receiving end of a rugged challenge from Stuart Dallas.
“Yeah he was in pain. I don’t know, we’re going to have to assess with the medical staff how bad it is. It looked a pretty bad challenge and he was in pain so we decided to take him out straight away.”