July 19, 2024

Mikel Arteta calls Arsenal’s defeat at Fulham their worst performance of the season | Football News


Mikel Arteta labelled Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat at Fulham as their “worst performance of the season” while Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp said the result must act as a wake-up call for the title hopefuls.

The Gunners looked primed to end 2023 on top of the Premier League table when Bukayo Saka scored from close range just five minutes into the contest at Craven Cottage.

But Arsenal failed to capitalise on that start and goals from Raul Jimenez and Bobby De Cordova-Reid sealed a comeback win for Fulham.

It means it is back-to-back defeats for Arteta’s men after the loss at home to West Ham.

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Gary Cotterill and Oliver Yew review Arsenal’s second consecutive defeat as they were beaten by Fulham at Craven Cottage in the Premier League.

They’ve won just one of their last five in the Premier League and this result leaves Arsenal in fourth place, two points behind leaders Liverpool, who play their game in hand against Newcastle at Anfield on Monday Night Football, and just a point above Tottenham in fifth.

“We weren’t good enough. Simple as that,” said Arteta to Sky Sports afterwards.

“We lost the game three days ago [against West Ham] we fully deserved to win because we were so good. And today we were nowhere near the level.

“We conceded two very similar goals, we gave the ball away and then the organisation in our box and set-plays… we didn’t generate enough today, our rhythm wasn’t good enough in attack, and defensively we were second best in every action.

“You have to play 100 minutes in the league so it’s not enough to play a few actions. It’s a really sad day because today we didn’t deserve to win the game.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Fulham’s win against Arsenal in the Premier League

“We never got going [after changing to 3-5-2 late on in the second half] because we gave every ball away, and we could not dominate the direct play so we didn’t do any of those two and it’s very difficult to generate any momentum. Credit to Fulham as well.”

Asked about the consecutive losses which have seen Arsenal surrender their advantage at the top of the table, Arteta said: “We had a great performance against Liverpool [in the 1-1 at Anfield]. We had a great performance against West Ham and didn’t win. Today was the one you have to isolate, because that was the worst performance of the season.”

Arsenal have won just one of their last five games in the Premier League
Arsenal have won just one of their last five games in the Premier League

‘This might be the reality check they need’

Sky Sports pundit Redknapp said: “This might be the reality check they need. Because they’re right off it at the moment.”

Reflecting on Arsenal’s recent poor run of results, he said it illustrated problems across the pitch, not just the much-discussed about goal-scoring issues.

“It’s like the run [of results] they had at the end of last season,” said Redknapp, referring to the streak of two wins in eight matches which ultimately cost Arsenal the title.

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Jamie Redknapp takes a closer look at the manner of Arsenal’s defeat at Fulham and believes it will ask a lot of questions about their title credentials going forward

“It’s almost good news, they’re getting this form out of the way, because they’re not right at the moment. They’re not good enough, they’re not sharp enough, they’ve not got good enough options in defence, midfield, going forward. It’s just not clicking.

“Arteta said they did enough to beat West Ham. I’m not convinced by that really. They had a few chances and created a lot without really looking like they were going to score goals. It was the same today. Everything was off. That sometimes happens in football. They’ve got to quickly get back on it.

“They’ve got a bit of a break now with the FA Cup and that might just help them. He says there aren’t players coming in I’d be surprised if he doesn’t try to bring a couple in to freshen it up. It’s not just in matches but in training everything goes up a level.”

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Izzy Christiansen and Jamie Redknapp suggest Arsenal’s full-backs are causing issues for Mikel Arteta’s side by crowding out the midfield for the likes of Martin Odegaard and Kai Havertz

Arsenal still among top three title favourites

However, Redknapp says Arsenal remain among the title favourites, if they can resolve those issues.

“I don’t think they’re far off,” he said. “It’s just not quite clicking at the moment. They’re losing their way a little bit.

“Do I put them in the equation to win the league? Absolutely. I still think there are only three runners: Liverpool, Man City and Arsenal. The title will come from one of those three teams. Arsenal right now, this might do them a little bit of a favour.

“This time last year they were playing so well and everyone got a little bit carried away, a bit excited and when the end of the season came they fell off a cliff. This might be the wake-up call they need.”

Rice: The mentality needs to be better

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Arsenal’s Declan Rice admitted that his side weren’t good enough in the 2-1 defeat to Fulham in the Premier League, but suggests that the result is just a blip

Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice to Sky Sports:

“Very disappointing. Very tough to take. Not good enough again from us today. The last two results have not been what we’ve required or what we’ve been setting over the course of the season. We’ve been performing very well up until the last few games, especially off the back of the draw at Liverpool we felt like we could really kick on. Two defeats, it’s a tough one to swallow.

“Against West Ham we had 30 shots, so many touches in the opposition box and just couldn’t put it away. Today when we go 1-0 up we need to take more control. We need to have more self belief, desire, the mentality needs to be better and demand more from each other when you’re pushing up that end of the table.”

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