Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta declared what the focus of Arsenal should be on after a disappointing draw with Fulham, and provided an injury update on Alexandre Lacazette.
Arsenal snatched a last-gasp point to severely dent the survival hopes of London rivals Fulham. Arteta rung the changes after their impressive 4-0 victory over Slavia Prague on Thursday. The lack of cohesion was evident early on as the Gunners toiled to find the breakthrough.
Fulham took the lead in emphatic fashion from the spot, with Arsenal’s hopes of launching a comeback then suffering a blow with Lacazette succumbing to injury.
Nevertheless, deep into injury time, Eddie Nketiah nodded home from close range after Arsenal swarmed the box at a corner.
Speaking to Sky Sports after a match the bookies offers had predicted would be an easy win, Arteta said: “We started really well, controlling the game and creating chances, scoring a goal that was disallowed, in a very disappointed way, we kept going and didn’t allow any shots on target and suddenly we concede a penalty and the game changes completely.
“We took risks in the right way, we could have scored three or four, we totally deserved to win the match but put ourselves in a difficult position.”
Outlining the positives he believes should attract attention, Arteta said: “We have to just focus on the boys playing away in Europe and arriving here with the desire to go all the way to the 97th, 98th minute.”
On Lacazette’s injury, Arteta explained: “He felt his hamstring so we don’t know. We have to rotate players, we have players who didn’t recover from the game on Thursday. That is the risk. You cannot change those players every game.
“We had 16 shots, probably not enough on target, goals disallowed, a post, that is the difference, you have to win this game.”
Nketiah speaks on impending greater Arsenal role
⚽️ Eddie Nketiah’s 2 PL goals this season have both been as a sub:
85 min, 2-1 winner v West Ham (H)
90+7 min, 1-1 equaliser v Fulham (H) pic.twitter.com/EOSaGd1dTp
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) April 18, 2021
Arsenal goalscorer Eddie Nketiah also spoke to the press, telling Sky Sports: “Happy with the team, we would’ve liked three points but when I was called on I wanted to make an impact. I’m delighted to get a goal and salvage a point for the team.
“Fulham made it difficult – we were a bit sloppy in possession, we had good chances, we had a couple which on another day might go in.
“Credit to Fulham for getting back in the game and getting the goal but we were good in the last 30 minutes and we deserved at least a point.”
On stepping in for the injured Lacazatte, something he may have to do more frequently until the end of the season, the striker added: “Firstly I wish Laca a speedy recovery – he’s important to the team and hopefully will be back as soon as possible.
“For me I stay patient and I’m happy to get the chance to play and I will be ready to help the team if I’m called upon.”
On VAR decisions: “That’s football – sometimes it goes in your favour and sometimes it doesn’t, we can only make sure we do our best as players and VAR is there to do a job so we have to take it. Disappointing to have it ruled out but that’s football.
“We’re a big club, we want to be climbing up the table – the manner in which we grabbed the goal feels a bit better than losing. Of course we wanted three points but we’ll take the point and move on.”