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Mikel Arteta Rues Early Goals Making It Difficult For Arsenal


As Fulham became the latest opposition to score quickly to put the hosts immediately on the back foot again in Saturday’s 2-2 Premier League tie, Mikel Arteta criticized Arsenal’s defensive fragility early in games.

Andreas Pereira scored the opening goal for the visitors just 57 seconds after the game began, before the crowd had even taken their seats.

With the goal, Arsenal became the first Premier League team ever to give up a first-minute goal three times in a single year.

“We have this situation a thousand times in football. We gave the ball away in a really dangerous area and it was a really cool finish,” Arteta told the BBC.

“Right from the beginning, we gave an incredible goal away. You make life really difficult for yourself. But the team reacted really well.

“We dominated the game and created countless chances and should have scored five, six, seven goals easily. When you’ve done the most difficult thing – get back ahead against a well organised team – you have to defend your box from one corner.”

Arteta made substitutions in the second half after Arsenal struggled to score in the first and was pleased to see Fabio Vieira and Eddie Nketiah bring the game back into their favor.

Prior to giving Nketiah the assist that made the score 2-1, Vieira first got the penalty for Bukayo Saka to tie the game at 1-1.

“The same with Eddie (Nketiah). It is my fault that Fabio has not played more and today he gave me reasons to play him more.”

However, despite having 10 men on the field, Fulham scored a late equalizer through Joao Palhinha, leaving Arteta furious as Arsenal surrendered two points and failed to overtake Fulham atop the standings.

“We have to show another level of commitment and desire – ‘over my dead body’. With 10 men, you cannot concede a goal,” he said.

“It’s the only chance they have and you get punished. Yet still you get another two chances and don’t score, that’s the story of the game.

“(For) the amount of things we did to merit to win the game comfortably, we end up with one point.”

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