Mikel Arteta has found Arsenal’s current skid difficult to explain considering they were cruising before the international break and he a frustrated figure against Southampton
Arsenal are squandering a huge chance to finish in the top four after their losing streak extended to three games against Southampton.
The Gunners suffered another defeat on Saturday as Jan Bednarek sealed a 1-0 win for the hosts. The north Londoners had a golden opportunity to make ground on rivals Tottenham who slipped up against Brighton earlier in the day, but they failed to take advantage of their mistake.
Mikel Arteta has found Arsenal’s current skid difficult to explain considering they were cruising before the international break. The Gunners’ issues are coming at the top end of the pitch as Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah are their only recognised no.9s after the exit of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January.
And the Spaniard was understandably a frustrated figure on the sidelines as Arsenal huffed and puffed but couldn’t find the breakthrough despite multiple chances.
During an unofficial water break, Arteta could be seen frantically gesturing to both Ben White and Cedric telling them to play the ball forward instead of being so conservative.
Arteta vented his anger at his side’s frailties in attack after the match saying. “For the amount of time that we spent around the box it shows that we have a situation, we didn’t put them in the goal,” the Spaniard said. “Because they have an exceptional goalkeeper today and because we didn’t have enough quality and enough capacity to break them down when we had the numbers and the situations open to do so.”
“It’s difficult to explain because this is football, not basketball. Because any other sport you win the game very comfortably and you’re talking about different things,” the Spaniard said. “Difficult to explain but at the end of the day, it’s decided in the boxes. They scored one goal, we didn’t.”
One of the silver linings for Arsenal was the resurgence of Nuno Tavares who responded well to his dismal performance against Crystal Palace. Arteta hinted that he would play Granit Xhaka at left-back with Keiran Tierney out until the end of the season but the Portuguese defender got the nod, with Xhaka operating in his preferred position in midfield.
Tavares was much more defensively aware, something he was lacking at Selhurst Park as he could be seen drifting into central positions covering for Gabriel when he left that area.
Tavares was also comfortable on the ball, boasting a 93.5 per cent pass success rate. And Arteta seemed to be happy with how he fared as he made a point of giving him two big thumbs up as Arsenal went back into their own half from a Southampton goal kick.
The Emirates faithful also showed their appreciation for Tavares when he was taken off in the second half as they chanted “Nuno, Nuno” with the fanbase clearly changing their tune on the full-back.