‘We Don’t Have The Luck’: Arteta Blames Ill-Luck For Defeat Against Everton

Arsenal's Brazilian defender David Luiz (L), Arsenal's English midfielder Joe Willock (C) and Arsenal's Spanish manager Mikel Arteta (R) leave the field after the English Premier League football match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on December 19, 2020. Clive Brunskill / POOL / AFP
Arsenal’s Brazilian defender David Luiz (L), Arsenal’s English midfielder Joe Willock (C) and Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta (R) leave the field after the English Premier League football match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on December 19, 2020. Clive Brunskill / POOL / AFP

 

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta admitted his side were unlucky after they slumped to their eighth Premier League defeat of the season against Everton on Saturday.

The Gunners came into the game on the back of three uninspiring Premier League games against Wolves, Burnley and Southampton but slumped to a 2-1 defeat at the Goodison Park to add more pressure on under-fire Arteta whose side have now managed just one win in their last 10 league matches.

“We reacted really well,” he told Sky Sports. “We dominated the game. We created enough chances at least to not lose. We hit the bar. We don’t have the luck.”

“The boys are absolutely still fighting,” he added. “They’re hurt right now.”

Carlo Ancelotti’s side moved five points behind leaders Liverpool after beating the Londoners 2-1 in front of 2,000 delighted fans at Goodison Park.

At the other end of the table, the Gunners remain 15th, putting Arteta’s position under intense scrutiny just four months after they won the FA Cup.

 

File photo: Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta reacts during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Emirates Stadium in London on November 29, 2020. Julian Finney / POOL / AFP

 

After red cards undid Arsenal in their previous two games, much of the damage was again self-inflicted as Rob Holding’s own goal opened the scoring.

Nicolas Pepe’s penalty briefly levelled the scores, but Yerry Mina’s header on the stroke of half-time secured a third consecutive win for Everton.

Arsenal were dealt a major blow before kick-off, losing captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to a calf injury.

He had just re-found his scoring touch with a first goal from open play in the Premier League since September in a 1-1 draw at home to Southampton on Wednesday.

That point briefly stemmed the spiral of decline for Arsenal but the club, who have been in English football’s top flight since 1919, find themselves in uncharted territory, facing a relegation battle.

– Relegation fight? –

Should results go against them on Sunday and Monday, Arteta’s men could be just two points above the drop zone, with Chelsea to come on Boxing Day.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin was usurped by Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah as the Premier League’s top scorer earlier in the day and while the England international failed to score for the third straight game, he did have a big part to play in the opening goal.

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Former Arsenal winger Alex Iwobi’s cross was headed towards goal by Calvert-Lewin, but his effort was going off target until it was turned in by Holding’s thigh.

Arsenal had been thoroughly outplayed in the opening half-hour but were gifted a route back into the game when Ainsley Maitland-Niles was fouled by Tom Davies inside the area.

In the absence of Aubameyang, Pepe took responsibility from the spot and sent Jordan Pickford the wrong way.

However, Everton’s power from set-pieces caused problems all night for the visitors and it was from a corner that the winner arrived, as Gylfi Sigurdsson’s wicked delivery to the near post was headed home by Mina.

Arsenal responded brightly in the second half and came close to a second equaliser when Pickford dropped a cross into the box and David Luiz’s shot came back off the post.

Thereafter, Everton were happy to let Arsenal have the ball but the visitors rarely looked capable of getting back into the game until deep into stoppage time, when Pickford made amends for his earlier error by saving from Bukayo Saka.

At the start of the campaign, Arsenal’s target was a return to the Champions League next season. Now their focus is staying in the Premier League, while it is the Blues who are contenders for a top-four finish.

“We have fantastic players on set-pieces, we score lots of goals,” Ancelotti told the BBC. “We work on this because we are very dangerous.

“We are pleased. The position in the table is really good. But as I said last week, it is not the end of the season, we have to keep fighting.”

 

Everton Were Impressed By Lookman’s Qualities, Says Koeman

Ademola Lookman, Everton, Ronald KoemanRonald Koeman has revealed that the exceptional qualities possessed by Ademola Lookman were the reasons Everton signed the English forward.

The Dutchman said that the 19-year-old’s versatility across the forward line was a key reason why he was so intent on recruiting him from Charlton Athletic.

He described Lookman as a player who knew what the club wanted and who believed they can make progress as soon as possible.

“First of all, we have been really impressed with his (Lookman) qualities. We will see what happens but he will be involved with the first team because we need to see how his qualities compare to our first-team players.

“He can play from the left side, he can play out of the right wing position (and) he can play like a second striker. He is fast and his movement is very dangerous. He is a player who scores goals.

“I spoke to the boy and he knows what we want, how he needs to train and play, and his behaviour. He’s only 19 and we know it’s difficult for young players to come into the first team at the level of the Premier League, but he’s the type who we believe can make the step as soon as possible,” Koeman told evertontv.

Lookman’s switch on Thursday afternoon was Everton’s first business in the 2017 winter transfer window.

He arrived at Goodison Park on a four-and-a-half-year deal, having scored 12 goals in 49 appearances for Charlton, where he had risen through their academy to first-team stardom.

Chelsea Beat Bournemouth 3-0 To Set Club Record

Chelsea Beat Bournemouth 3-1 To Set Club RecordLeague leaders Chelsea thrashed Bournemouth 3-0 at Stamford Bridge with a brace from Pedro Rodriquez and a goal from Belgian forward Eden Hazard.

With the victory, Chelsea set a club-record 12th successive Premier League victory while Hazard also earned his 50th Premier League goal

Pedro had given Chelsea the lead with a curled effort from 18 yards supplied by Cesc Fabregas’ 98th Premier League assist, before Hazard scored a penalty in the 49th minute after he was fouled by Simon Francis.

The Belgian became the sixth Chelsea player to reach 50 PL goals after Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Gianfranco Zola and Eidur Gudjohnsen.

AFC Bournemouth were dangerous throughout and twice went close through Jack Wilshere and substitute Benik Afobe, but Antonio Conte’s men held firm and got a late third through Pedro’s deflected shot.

Manchester United’s resurgence in the English Premier League continued as the Red Devils beat Sunderland 3-1 at Old Trafford with goals from Daley Blind, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrik Mkhitaryan.

Olivier Giroud’s 87th minute goal was all arsenal needed to secure maximum points against West Brom at the Emirates Stadium while Watford and Crystal Palace played a 1-1 draw.

Everton also beat defending champions Leicester City 2-0 while West Ham secured a priceless 4-1 away victory over Swansea City.

Everton Defeat Was An Off Day – Wenger

WengerArsène Wenger admits Arsenal’s last season’s 3-0 defeat to Everton was a low point, but says it was no more than an “off day” during a dramatic season.

The Gunners hopes of securing a top-four place looked in serious danger after the defeat at Goodison Park, with the hosts moving above them in the table.

However, a late resurgence helped Wenger’s side secure a Champions League spot at the expense of Saturday’s opponents.

Wenger told Arsenal.com, “In the quality of our performance, and even more than that in our mental resistance, the mental steel on the day [the defeat to Everton] was one of our low points.

“At the start I played with Arteta and Flamini in the middle of the park. We did not have Ozil, we had Ramsey on the bench, just coming back from injury. We played with Podolski, Giroud, and we were a bit bullied. At the back we had Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Monreal and Sagna. It was an off day, as well physically.

“[I was worried afterwards] because it was not in our hands anymore. It was in the hands of Everton. It was only their defeat against Crystal Palace at home that allowed us to get there.

“It was very tight last year. We finished with 79 points and I think it’s the first time since I arrived in England that you finish fourth with 79 points. You can look at the tables – that never existed before.

“Even if the Premier League was more interesting than ever last season, the top four teams took more points together than in any other year. For Everton, it’s the first time a team on 72 points didn’t get in the top four. It was very difficult.”