Mikel Arteta frustrated with Arsenal after home draw with Fulham

Gunners manager felt team should have won by 'five, six, seven goals easily' at the Emirates

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Mikel Arteta expressed his frustrated with his Arsenal team after their 2-2 home draw with Fulham on Saturday.

The Gunners manager felt his team should have scored “five, six, seven goals easily” at the Emirates Stadium, despite conceding after less than a minute.

Andreas Pereira had pounced on a loose back pass from Bakayo Saka and the midfielder saw goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale out of position, pulling the trigger from almost 30 metres to score and silence the home crowd.

Arsenal struggled to create quality chances in a second half played in the middle of a thunder storm that lit up the sky in North London, until substitute Fabio Vieira helped turn the game around.

The Portuguese midfielder first earned a penalty when he was brought down by Kenny Tete in the area, and Saka calmly converted from the spot.

Nketiah then put Arsenal ahead minutes later by poking home a low cross from Vieira and when Fulham Calvin Bassey was shown a second yellow card seven minutes from time, the Gunners looked on course for three points.

But Arsenal's defensive frailties surfaced again when Joao Palhinha's first-time finish from a corner in the 87th minute earned the away side a share of the spoils.

It was Arsenal's first dropped points of the campaign after opening with two wins, and the setback was largely self-inflicted.

“Right from the beginning, we gave an incredible goal away,” said Arteta. “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. And when you have done the most difficult thing which is to get back ahead against a team that is well organised, you have to defend your box from one corner.

“It is the only chance they have and you get punished. Yet still you get another two chances and don't score – that is the story of the game.”

Some were yet to take their seats inside the Emirates when Pereira pounced on a reckless blind ball from Saka to give Fulham the lead.

There seemed to be no danger when Declan Rice laid the ball to his England teammate wide on the halfway line, but in a startling lapse of concentration Saka played a backwards pass into the path of the onrushing Pereira, who dinked it beyond Ramsdale to stun the hosts.

It was the third time in 2023 that Arsenal had conceded in the first minute of a home game and, as though familiar with the routine, they responded with appropriate urgency.

Kai Havertz spurned a good chance to level from Saka’s clever back-post flick, then Gabriel Martinelli danced inside Kenny Tete to make room for a low drive that was gathered by Leno.

Jimenez then worried Ramsdale with an ambitious scissor kick that dropped a foot wide of the post and Harry Wilson threatened with a wicked driven effort that flew across goal.

Martinelli went close again for the hosts after he was slipped in to a channel down the left, this time Leno saved at the near post. Saka then badly miscued a header which spun up and over the bar from six yards.

Then, as the frustration rumbling around the Emirates intensified, a second-half lifeline came.

Martinelli slipped a clever ball in behind for substitute Fabio Vieira and, as he darted inside the box, Tete was tempted into going to ground in what proved a fatal error. Saka fired Arsenal level from the spot.

It took under three minutes to complete a whirlwind fightback. Vieira, fresh from his smart run to win the penalty, supplied fellow substitute Nketiah, who timed his arrival to perfection to steer the low cross beyond Leno.

Bassey had been down injured in the box when the ball hit the back of the net after clashing with Saka and Fulham manager Marco Silva was booked for his protests at play being allowed to go on.

Fulham’s hopes seemed to drain away when Bassey was red carded with seven minutes to go, a second booking for hauling down Nketiah near the halfway line after being penalised for time-wasting just after half-time.

But within minutes Fulham had rescued a point. Harrison Reed’s corner was well delivered and there meeting it on the half volley was Palhinha to scoop his foot skilfully around the ball into the bottom corner.

Updated: August 26, 2023, 5:49 PM