Mikel Arteta, the manager of Arsenal, voiced his disappointment with his team’s performance as they were unable to secure a victory against 10-man Fulham, resulting in a 2-2 draw at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
The match began with an early setback for Arsenal as Andreas Pereira capitalized on a mistake by Bukayo Saka, giving Fulham the lead within the first minute of the game. Arteta’s tactical substitutions later in the match appeared to turn the tide, with Fabio Vieira winning a penalty that was successfully converted by Saka, leveling the score. Vieira’s subsequent assist allowed Eddie Nketiah to put Arsenal ahead at 2-1.
Despite Fulham’s Calvin Bassey receiving a second yellow card and being sent off, they managed to level the score once again. Joao Palhinha took advantage of defensive vulnerabilities, securing a late equalizer for Fulham from a corner kick in the 87th minute.
An evidently frustrated Arteta commented, “We need to demonstrate a higher level of commitment and determination. Conceding a goal with a numerical advantage is unacceptable.” He expressed his discontent with the team’s initial defensive lapse that led to Fulham’s opening goal, acknowledging that such mistakes create unnecessary challenges. Arteta acknowledged the team’s commendable response after falling behind, noting their dominance and numerous missed scoring opportunities.
Arteta emphasized the importance of defensive vigilance, stating, “After successfully regaining the lead against an organized opponent, it’s crucial to safeguard your penalty area, particularly from set pieces. It’s disheartening to be punished by the opponent’s sole chance.”
Arsenal, aiming to secure their first Premier League title in two decades, narrowly missed out on the championship to Manchester City last season. The team’s strengthened squad this season, including acquisitions like Declan Rice and Kai Havertz, showcased its depth and impact during the match. Notable contributions came from substitutes Vieira, Nketiah, and Zinchenko, who returned from injury.
Arteta praised the game-changing influence of his substitutes, particularly highlighting Vieira’s involvement in the team’s creative efforts. He also admitted his own responsibility for not utilizing Vieira more frequently and expressed contentment with the player’s performance.
The drawn match marked Arsenal’s first dropped points of the season, causing them to trail behind their North London rivals, Tottenham, on goal difference in the Premier League standings. Despite both teams amassing seven points from the first three games, the potential for a shift in the hierarchy looms as Manchester City prepares to play against Sheffield United on Sunday.