Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta slammed his side’s home form as “terrible, unacceptable” after they slumped to a 1-0 Premier League defeat by Everton on Friday to fall even further behind in the chase for European football next season.
Arsenal had plenty of chances in the second half and a penalty decision reversed by VAR before an own goal by keeper Bernd Leno gifted the visitors the three points as the Gunners lost for the seventh time at home in the league this season.
“We were the better team. We lacked some clear-cut chances and the edge in the final third. They are very well organised, but we conceded the goal in the wrong moment,” said Arteta, whose ninth-placed side are nine points off the European spots.
The Spaniard also fired a broadside at the match officials, who first awarded a penalty for a trip on Dani Ceballos but then reversed the decision when VAR found that Nicolas Pepe was offside in the build-up some 15 seconds earlier.
“This is building up and enough is enough,” a frustrated Arteta told Sky Sports. “And today to be fair, I’ve had enough. We have many of them and nobody explains. When they explain and then they say ‘sorry, it was a mistake’ but unfortunately it is affecting a lot of people, it affects our job and most importantly our football club.
“To disallow a penalty 15 seconds before — [we had] eight or nine touches [after Nicolas Pepe was offside] — I saw it 10 times and I don’t get it. It can be taken the way they want. Zero control. Somebody has to explain that.”
The game was overshadowed by an Arsenal fan protests before the match. Supporters gathered on the stadium’s concourse more than two hours before kickoff to protest American owner Stan Kroenke’s role in the failed Super League project, banging metal screens above the main box office, lighting flares, setting off fireworks and chanting “We want Kroenke out” and “We want our Arsenal back.”
Arsenal fans arrive in numbers at the Emirates to protest against the Kroenkes’ ownership ahead of their Premier League match.
Despite the hostile atmosphere, Arteta said the protests had no impact on the result on the pitch.
“We knew that was happening. We knew our fans were going to express their feelings and we made preparations with that in mind. That is not an excuse,” he said.
“We lost the game because at the end, we had to we define the game in the crucial moments. We had the openings, not clear chances we wanted, we concede an own goal and when we earned the right to score, with the decisions, the power was taken away.”
Everton coach Carlo Ancelotti was delighted to bring his side’s 25-year wait for a win at Arsenal to an end, and equally happy to snap a five-game streak without a league victory.
“It [winning at Arsenal] is an unbelievable gift for our supporters. A good performance — not top, but solid. We tried to play if possible and we were lucky to score a goal,” Ancelotti said.
“Finally I can say we are back. We had a difficult moment with lots of injuries, but this victory gives us more motivation for the next games,” he added with his team one point behind Liverpool, who are seventh, and three off fourth-placed Chelsea.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.