'Not our level' – Arteta frustrated with sloppy Arsenal after Europa League exit
Mikel Arteta admits Arsenal were simply not good enough against Sporting Lisbon after they crashed out of the Europa League on Thursday night.
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Arsenal drew 1-1 at the Emirates to end their round of 16 tie with Sporting 3-3 on aggregate, sending the match to penalties.
And after Gabriel Martinelli had his spot-kick saved, Nuno Santos scored his to send the Portuguese giants through to the quarter-finals and dump the Gunners out of the competition.
Though the home side had started the game better and took the lead early on through Granit Xhaka, it was the visitors who controlled the bulk of the match with Arsenal unable to get a hold of possession and constantly giving the ball away.
The recovered after the scores went level again, and into extra-time Arsenal had two fantastic chances to win the game but goalkeeper Antonio Adan did brilliantly to deny Leandro Trossard and Gabriel.
It was this sloppiness and lack of clinical finishing that Arteta feels cost his side dearly, telling BT Sport post-match: ‘A huge blow obviously. There were moments in the first 75 minutes where we weren’t at our level.
‘We gave every ball away and we didn’t have the capacity to take the game. There were big chances to win it in extra-time. There was a lot of uncertainty with the pens.
‘It was a very difficult game. We didn’t win enough duals in certain spaces. We didn’t put the ball under pressure well enough. We gave the ball away consistently and it created a really open game we didn’t want to play.
‘Injuries happened with [Takehiro] Tomiyasu and [William] Saliba. We are really restricted with the changes because we only have one window to do one and we didn’t have the subs left.
This leaves the Premier League as the only trophy left up for grabs for Arsenal with a home game against out of form Crystal Palace on Sunday next on the agenda.
As it stands, the Gunners are five points clear of Manchester City at the top of table with 11 games remaining.
Arteta added: ‘We just have to look at ourselves and why we were not good enough to go through. We congratulate Sporting and now we have 11 games.
‘Our next game with Palace is a final. Every work we do right now has to be towards Palace and we have to be better than in this game.’
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