“I shouldn’t have started him in the game, he cost us the 3 points with his mistakes”- Mikel Arteta admitted that he made mistake by starting £30M Arsenal man over his colleague.
Arsenal found themselves on the wrong end of a dream Champions League comeback against Lens on Tuesday evening in France and Mikel Arteta offered his view on David Raya’s mistake
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta claims more “mistakes” will come after a David Raya clanger cost the Gunners in their Champions League clash with Lens.
The Gunners went ahead in France after Gabriel Jesus’ excellent finish but strikes from Adrien Thomasson and Elye Wahi condemned the north Londoners to their first defeat of the campaign. The Spanish goalkeeper had to shoulder plenty of blame for the equaliser after his poor clearance was picked out.
Arteta suggests that the way Raya and his team plays could see more mistakes throughout the course of the season but refused to blame the former Brentford man.
Speaking to TNT Sport after defeat, the Arsenal boss said: “This happens. Mistakes are part of football. They will continue to be there somehow.
“The difference was in both boxes but especially in Champions League, you don’t generate ten clear-cut chances in the Champions League. When you get there, you have to put the ball into the back of the net and you have to defend the box better than we have done.”
He continued to criticise his side for their performance having been left less than inspired with both their finishing and defending. He added: “Congratulations to Lens. They are a really good side, exceptional atmosphere and a really difficult opponent. We made the most difficult thing in scoring the first goal. We also had control of the game and in one action, they score a goal and it was game on again.
“We had a huge chance straight after the break with Leo [Trossard]. Two or three big chances. It’s true that we didn’t generate enough threat in the final third like in many occasions.
“We didn’t attack certain spaces and provoke certain moves that are not good against them. But in the PSV game, it was in the boxes. We had big chances and we didn’t defend the box well enough to win the game.”
Whilst the defeat wrangles with Arteta, another worry for the Spaniard will be the injury suffered by Bukayo Saka. The winger had been withdrawn in each of the previous two Premier League games but did not even manage until half-time against Lens.
Arteta gave an update on his condition post-match. “It was an action,” he revealed. “It was a backheel and he felt something specific. It was nothing else. Obviously, he wasn’t comfortable to continue.”
The Gunners will be hoping to get back on track this weekend with Saka among their ranks. Arsenal face one of their toughest tasks of the season in the form of Manchester City