‘Fatigue had a say’ – Arsenal were not ‘sharp’ and lacked ‘purpose’ in Leicester loss, admits Arteta

The Gunners’ lacklustre performance against the Foxes was to be anticipated due to tiredness, the Spaniard has argued

Mikel Arteta has excused his Arsenal team for their 1-0 loss at home to Leicester on Sunday, claiming that fatigue had a role to play in the defeat.

The Gunners dominated much of the match but were unable to make their possession and territory count against Brendan Rodgers’ side.

Despite having twice as many shots as their opponents, a goal from Jamie Vardy after 80 minutes consigned the Gunners to defeat, although the Spaniard refused to be too hard on his players.

“I think fatigue had a say there as well,” Arteta said when questioned about his side’s lack of creativity. “We didn’t look as sharp on the ball. We didn’t have much purpose on the ball. David gave us something different when we wanted to do something with the low blocks.

“Credit to them, they are really organised and it’s difficult to create chances. We created one with Hector Bellerin and we didn’t convert. It’s an aspect we have to improve on.

“To be fair I was really pleased with the first half. The way we pressed and the aggression we showed. We were effective with that and restricted them to nothing. We scored the goal on the set piece which I don’t know how it got disallowed. We needed to be patient and not to make any errors.

“We made the decision when there is no pressure on the ball to try and attack that space and they scored a good goal. We didn’t manage to have enough continuity in our play, we didn’t put the ball as often as we could in the box. It’s a very harsh for result for us considering what happened in the game.”

Arteta was also angry at the decision to disallow a goal for his side.

Alexandre Lacazette thought he had headed the Gunners in front after just four minutes at Emirates, only for the linesman to flag for an infringement. While the France international was onside from the corner, Granit Xhaka was ruled to have impeded Foxes keeper Kasper Schmeichel from an offside position. 

Arteta said: “I’m really disappointed, we had it in our hands in the first half and I don’t know how the hell the goal was disallowed.”

Arsenal find themselves 10th in the Premier League table, but have played a game more than five of the teams below them and two more than Burnley

The ferocious pace of the season continues with a home Europa League match against Dundalk on Thursday, then a trip to Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday.

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