Arsene Wenger has blamed Arsenal’s “very, very poor” defending for the team’s 2-1 loss away to West Brom on Saturday and labelled the Gunners’ performance a “nightmare” showing.
Arsenal missed the chance to go top of the Premier League table at the Hawthorns when James Morrison’s goal and an own goal by Mikel Arteta cancelled out Olivier Giroud’s first-half opener before Santi Cazorla missed a late penalty to condemn Arsenal to defeat.
To add to his woes, Wenger was handed more concerns when Francis Coquelin and Arteta were both forced off with injury during the game, which takes the number of Arsenal players currently missing to eight.
And the Frenchman admitted after the match he felt his side’s poor defending was to blame for the defeat that leaves Arsenal in fourth place in the Premier League table, two points behind league leaders Leicester City.
“It was a bad afternoon, we missed a penalty, we gave a goal away on set-piece, that is perfect to make your afternoon a nightmare and we missed open goal chances,” he said.
“I believe that West Brom they were strong in the fight and they had one 100 per cent commitment as well and you have to give them credit for that.
“But overall I felt it dropped a huge blow when we scored and we just had to make sure they didn’t come back with a easy goal and that is where we were disappointed today.
“But I cannot be mad at the team because they gave what they could until the last minute but we lost a bit of focus at 1-0 – at 35 minutes we were 1-0 up and then at 45 we were 2-1 down. Our defending on that level was very, very poor.”
Wenger also addressed Cazorla’s penalty miss, which occurred when the Spaniard slipped in the build-up to taking it, after saying he did not blame the midfielder for failing to convert his spot-kick, which could have secured a late point.
“I have seen a few but I don’t really know what happened. You can talk to him and he is so disappointed and it is difficult to blame Cazorla for that.
“We have to take it on the chin and bounce back in our next game.
It is a big blow today for us as if the game reflects the result then okay but when you drop points when you have come out of a game and think you have not done the maximum to produce you cannot be happy.”
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