Arsenal manager Arteta laments ‘worst performance of the season’


Mikel Arteta called Arsenal’s “painful” 2-1 defeat to Fulham their “worst performance of the season.”

Bukayo Saka opened the scoring after five minutes, but goals from Raúl Jiménez and Bobby De Cordova-Reid condemned the Gunners to a second consecutive defeat in the Premier League, which leaves them fourth in the standings.

– Stream on ESPN+: Arsenal vs Liverpool, Sunday, January 7, 4:20 pm ET, ESPN+

Arsenal will face Liverpool in the FA Cup third round next week, but will not play in the league again until January 20. Arteta said his team needs to correct course after another disappointing performance following Thursday’s defeat to West Ham.

“We certainly need that reset after today, because it will be in our stomach for a few days,” Arteta said.

“The game against West Ham feels very different, so you can move on. It’s football, it can happen.

“What happened today can’t happen again, because if you do that, we’ll never have a chance to be where we want to be. Today could have been a beautiful day to end the year, that’s for sure.”

“But these are the margins and we have to try to find the bar. We have to look in the mirror, because today’s performance is the worst we have played all season.

“A painful and sad day, that’s how I would sum it up. We had the opportunity to be first in the table after 20 games with the consistency that we have shown.

“We haven’t managed well enough to earn the right to win the game. Three days ago we lost a game we deserved to win; today was a very different story.”

Midfielder Declan Rice insisted Arsenal needed to be more ruthless after Saka’s opener.

“Today, when you are 1-0 up, you need to take more control, have more self-confidence, more desire and the mentality needs to be better. We need to demand more from each other,” Rice said on Sky Sports.

“I’m not saying we didn’t do it, because we still tried to push for more. But in the end Fulham won the game and we have to see why they won the game.

“Once we won 1-0, we had to keep going again, go for more. In this league there is no room for mistakes. There are so many good teams around you, and obviously we want to be at the top. “The bottom of the table. It’s hard to accept today.”

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