Mikel Arteta admits Arsenal were lucky to scrape a narrow win over West Ham with Eddie Nketiah stepping off the bench to score the winner on a poor day at the office for the Gunners.
Arsenal went into the match on the back of a fine opening-day victory over Fulham last weekend. Their morale was further lifted this week when captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finally signing his new contract.
Furthermore, the club are making progress on the transfer front. A deal for Houssem Aouar is edging closer after two big developments.
As such, the Gunners were expected to enjoy a positive display against the visiting Hammers.
But it took an 85th-minute goal from Nketiah to seal a 2-1 win. That’s after Michail Antonio had cancelled out Alexandre Lacazette’s opener on the stroke of half-time.
West Ham were narrowly beaten at the Emirates Stadium before the lockdown and were good again here. It was harsh that they left with nothing courtesy of Nketiah’s contribution.
After the game, Arteta admitted his side’s attitude – to claw the win when they did not play well – was the big positive to come from the game.
“We were a little bit lucky for sure but we found a way to win,” Arteta said.
“That’s the mentality I want. At the end it’s three points. There are a lot of things to improve.
“We are still very far from where we want to be. We are still adapting things but it’s great to have six points already.
“Between 55 and 65 minutes I could see the team giving up. I tried to lift them up and I saw a different team in the last 20 minutes. We’re going to have games like that.”
Moyes unhappy with defeat
West Ham boss David Moyes felt his side would have been deserving of all three points but singled out video assistant referee decisions that went against the visitors.
There was a tight offside call against Aubameyang for Arsenal’s first goal and a potential penalty for handball against Gabriel Magalhaes which was turned down, with Moyes unhappy with the outcomes of both.
“We should have won tonight or at least got a draw,” he said.
“Lots of things didn’t go for us and we turned off at the last minute which ultimately cost us.
“We are all really disappointed because we feel our performance was good and feel we were let down by decisions.
“Very fine margins on the first goal, then the handball, against Newcastle we had one that wasn’t given.
“We aren’t going to use them as excuses but we have had a tough night for it tonight.
“It was a massively improved performance from last week (a 2-0 loss at Newcastle), we were good on the ball and more composed.
“We were playing a form team, we are aware of that and I’m disappointed we haven’t come away with any points.”