Mikel Arteta points finger at Arsenal stars and bemoans injury woes as they exit Europa League

Arsenal have been forced to focus all their efforts on trying to end their long wait for a league title following their Europa League elimination at the hands of Sporting Lisbon on Thursday night.

Arsenal v Sporting CP – Photos

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was disappointed with his stars for not taking care of the ball enough when his side exited the Europa League on Thursday.

The Gunners initially looked set for the quarter-finals after Granit Xhaka put them ahead. Pedro Goncalves equalized with a beautiful effort from the halfway line.

The scores remained level from then on until the end of the mammoth draw before Gabriel Martinelli saw his penalty saved in the shootout as Sporting sealed their progression. Arteta was hugely critical of his side for their displays for the vast majority of the match as he attempted to accept the exit.

Speaking to BT Sport, the Spaniard said: ” [It’s a] huge blow of course. Especially in the first 75 minutes there were times when we were not at our level. We gave away every ball.

“We didn’t have the capacity to dominate the game and take the game where we wanted. It’s true that in the last 15 minutes we had the chances and in extra time we had the chances to win. If it turns out for the penalties, it’s a lot of uncertainty and we lost that.”

Arteta’s assessment was further infuriated when he admitted his side were not competing enough with their visitors. He added: “I think it was a completely different game [to the first leg].

“Especially that we won too few duels when we had them in certain areas. They are really good at attacking those boxes and second-line runs and we didn’t press the ball well enough for that.

Mikel Arteta was furious with his team during their defeat against Sporting Lisbon(Getty Images)

“Every time we got the ball back in those areas, we gave it away. We didn’t have the ball all the time and that made for a very open transition game that we didn’t want to play.”

Leave a comment