BRIGHTON, England (Reuters) – Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said his side did not deserve to win following a toothless attacking display in a 0-0 draw away to Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday, but the Spaniard took some comfort from a solid defensive performance.
After a thrilling 3-1 win over bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur last week, Arsenal were brought back to earth with a bump as Graham Potter’s side mesmerised them at times with the kind of free-flowing football Arteta would dearly love to see from his team.
Brighton had a total of 21 attempts, but only two of them were on target as Arsenal defended doggedly, and although Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hit a post with a first-half header, their blunt performance in possession is a cause for concern.
“(The header) was probably the only open situation in the first half, and we were unlucky not to score it. I don’t think we deserved to win the game, we have to take the draw with the performance we had today and improve,” Arteta told the BBC.
The Gunners improved after the break and had a decent 10-minute spell late in the game, but other than that they looked lost as they sought to create chances of their own.
“We didn’t make enough right decisions, every time there was a duel where we could escape pressure and attack open spaces we came up short and against this structure we had to do better,” Arteta said.
His defenders did well to keep up with Brighton’s fluid, intelligent attacking football, and although they came under pressure at set pieces, they often managed to get blocks in or force their hosts to shoot from distance.
“We have conceded one goal in the last five games which is really positive … we can now focus on the things we are doing well and work on the ones we need to improve,” Arteta said.
(Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Toby Davis)