For the second time in as many games, Arsenal surrendered a two-goal lead with Mikel Arteta stating his side gave West Ham hope instead of killing them off.
Arsenal fans could have been forgiven for thinking Groundhog Day was happening against West Ham on Sunday.
After a blistering first 35 minutes that saw Arsenal obliterate the home side to such an extent that only a Gunners win looked inevitable, to hanging on for a point, it wasn’t the best of afternoons for the Gunners.
A 2-0 lead in football is a dangerous one. Does the team go for the throat and put the game beyond doubt? Or do they hit cruise control and try to see the game out? On Sunday, Arsenal seemed overconfident, and it cost them…dearly.
Mikel Arteta laments lack of killer instinct in West Ham draw
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta stated that his young side, instead of “killing” the game off, offered West Ham a way back into the game.
“We didn’t have the same purpose to attack the opponent’s goal, and protect that result by having the ball,” Arteta said via the club’s official website. “We gave them hope – instead of killing them in this moment, we gave them hope.
“They realised that there was a chance there and they started playing extremely direct. We could not handle that game. After that, obviously when you concede the two goals in the way we’ve done, then at the other end of the pitch you have to do things better. This is another turning point – at 2-1 [if] you score that penalty it’s 3-1, two minutes later it’s 2-2. This is part of football – for me, the main thing is how we reacted after [leading] 2-0.”
It marks the second consecutive game that Arsenal has given up a 2-0 lead after the odd Anfield draw with Liverpool.
In two games, Arsenal seemingly had six points in the bag but had to settle for two… and that has let Manchester City right back into the title race.
Some have come down hard on Arsenal for the lack of killer instinct, but let’s remember this is still a young side finding their way. That instinct will come, but if it keeps happening, then the title will surely be out of reach.
There is still a long way to go in the title race, and Arsenal have shown their ability to put teams to the sword in brutal fashion… they just can’t kill them off.
With the City clash looming on the horizon, Arsenal can ill afford any more slip-ups. If they do, we will likely look back at these two weeks as the games that shifted the balance in the title race to City.