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Mikel Arteta believes his team is not under pressure after 2-2 draw with West Ham

Mikel Arteta believes his team is not under pressure as Arsenal threw away a 2-0 lead at West Ham.

The Gunners made the perfect start and were 2-0 up inside 10 minutes, first through Gabriel Jesus who tapped in at the end of a crisp move, and later Martin Odegaard whose close-range volley also followed good build-up play.

West Ham offered nothing in the opening half an hour and the London Stadium was growing frustrated, but then Thomas Partey gifted the home side a lifeline by trying an ill-judged flick. Declan Rice won the ball and moved it on to Lucas Paqueta, who won a penalty that was scored by Said Benrahma.

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Arsenal hung on until the break but then gave West Ham another lifeline soon after as, having been awarded a penalty for handball, Bukayo Saka missed the target entirely.

They were made to pay two minutes later when nobody tracked Jarrod Bowen, allowing him to volley into the ground and beyond Aaron Ramsdale.

Rivals Manchester City are now just four points behind the Gunners with a game in hand and all the momentum on their side.

When asked if the pressure was getting to his side, who have now dropped points in their last two games, Arteta said: “When I see a team playing with that flow at the start of the game, that’s not pressure. At 2-0 we were not under pressure. We just didn’t do what the game required in that moment.

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“We could not control what West Ham was proposing after the first goal. If you concede two or three goals away from home, it is very difficult to win football matches. We have to blame ourselves with how we played in our boxes.”

It was the second game in a row that the Gunners had thrown away a 2-0 lead having drawn 2-2 with Liverpool last Sunday.

Arteta was asked if fatigue was to blame for their second half collapses.

He said: “Fatigue-wise? No. What we produced in the first and second half against Liverpool was similar and today we put a higher input in the second half that we did in the first half.

“We were slower in everything that we did. I don’t think the team is fatigued or looked fatigued. The best way to do it is convince them how good they are and do what they have to do.

“We started extremely well again, dominated the game all over the pitch and scored two beautiful goals. After that we made a huge mistake, we stopped playing with the same purpose to score the third and the fourth one.

“It looked too easy. And on that moment, we gave them hope. Credit to West Ham, they took it. They did what they did really well, playing really direct with long throws and corners.

“We really struggled to get out of their game. If you don’t defend the box the way we should, the two goals we conceded, then you have to do many other things much better.

“We need to have that ruthless mindset to go and kill a team. When a team is there for the taking, we have to kill the team. And when you don’t do that in the Premier League, at some stage it’s going to turn around.

“You have to fight and earn the right to play, but when we need it, you need to have more composure.”

This is the first time Arsenal have surrendered a two-goal lead in back-to-back Premier League games.

Alfred Saiki
Alfred Saiki
A passionate sports journalist and administrator. I want to see the world.