Arteta has mixed feelings after Arsenal lost ‘control’, deflects one criticism

Mikel Arteta was frustrated with the way Arsenal lost “control” of their Europa League quarter-final against Slavia Prague.

Arsenal looked to have earned the first-leg advantage when Nicolas Pepe broke the deadlock late on. However, they conceded an equaliser to Tomas Holes in stoppage time to leave things in the balance ahead of the second leg in Prague next week.

Arteta was left in shock after their last league game ended in defeat to Liverpool. He may have been feeling similar emotions, to a lesser extent, after letting Slavia back into the tie in such simple fashion.

Clearly frustrated to only claim a draw, he was left to pick apart their errors.

He told BT Sport: “The game is under control, we had got the goal we wanted, but we missed some big chances as well.

“We played two or three balls we shouldn’t do and put ourselves on the back foot and conceded the corner.

“They put bodies in the box and anything can happen. Of course it changes the feeling after the game.”

Arteta left it late to make any substitutions, but the ones he did bring on made an impact. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang set up Pepe for their goal, for instance, after both came on from the bench.

But the Spaniard denied that he waited too long to change things up.

He added: “We know we have the possibility to change things with the five subs. We thought it was the right time for the setup we had.

“It was the right moment to do it and they had a big impact. Unfortunately we didn’t capitalise on it.”

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Arteta remains confident

Now Arteta must rally his troops for next week’s return fixture. Analysing the game in more detail, he admitted there were problems for Arsenal to solve, but remains confident about the overall tie.

“It’s difficult because they are a good opponent. They have beaten some big teams and are really difficult to play against.

“They have a lot of man-to-man situations and you have to resolve them. When we did that, we created chances, but when you can’t, it’s not easy.

“We were effective in our high press – they had the capacity to run in transition if they won the ball back but we controlled that well. It’s more about the final result that leaves a difficult taste.

“Now we need to go there and win the game. We’ve done it in the past and we’re sure we can do it again.”

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