Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker spoke to the media after the loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. The German felt Arsenal were let down by their blunt display in the final third of the field, a display that saw them fail to register a single shot on target.
The Gunners fell to their first loss of the season in a heated encounter at Stamford Bridge, in which a penalty from Eden Hazard and a second half strike from Diego Costa gave Jose Mourinho’s side the three points. Arsenal found it difficult to create goal scoring chances despite enjoying a lot of possession, and although they conceded two goals at the other end, Mertesacker felt the Gunners’ struggles in attack were more costly.
[We were let down] In the final third. I think we defended quite well. There was always a cover and there was always protection in our final third.
We had a couple of decent chances to get through but we failed with the last pass or the last touch.
Obviously we were more competitive this year. That was the first target, to be much better than last year.
At times we were good but not good enough to score a goal. Defensively we made two wrong decisions and we missed the final touch in the last third and the final ball – that was the difference.
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Overall we have to admit that we can take some positives out of this game but there’s still something to do. We tried to be more in control than last year and we always made sure we had cover at the back.
In the second half we tried to push more and we took more risks. That was the second goal for them. In the first half there were a couple of good decisions, a couple of good chances for us but we missed that bit.
This performance was obviously much better than the last game at the Bridge, which the Gunners lost 6-0. However, while it was a much tighter affair this time around, Chelsea showed their class by virtue of their clinical finishing and midfield dominance. The game was also marred by several instances of rough challenges, both on and off the pitch.
That’s normal. It was a fair game and there were a couple of tough challenges. That’s something normal and it’s what the people want to see here. We tried to give absolutely everything but in the end it wasn’t enough.
This loss sees Arsenal drop out of the top four. With the international break coming up, Wenger now has to focus on getting the team’s morale up to its previous level when they return. Chelsea has a nine point lead over us, an almost insurmountable lead, but anything is possible in football, though an Arsenal win seems unlikely.