Mikel Arteta Laments As Arsenal Throw Away Two Goal Lead Again Against West Ham, And Drop Points In The Title Race

Premier League leaders Arsenal dropped two more points in their quest for the title following a 2-2 draw against West Ham at the London stadium on Sunday afternoon.

This will be the second week in a row theyl Gunners will throw away a two-goal advantage, after their 2-2 draw at Liverpool last Sunday.

The leaders started the encounter a brighter side, and were two ahead and cruising towards restoring their six-point cushion over Manchester City with Gabriel Jesus tapping home early in the seventh minute, and Martin Odegaard doubling Arsenal's lead with a volley three minutes later.

Everything later changed as the visitors total control of the game quickly faded when midfielder Thomas Partey lost the ball cheaply in midfield, allowing Declan Rice to find Lucas Paqueta in the box. Gabriel tried to avoid making a tackle but caught Paqueta and Said Benrahma converted the resulting penalty kick in the 33rd minute.

Arsenal were unable to replicate same when given there own penalty seven minutes into the second half after Michail Antonio had handled in the penalty area.

Bukayo Saka stepped up to take the spot kick and sent his effort wide of Lukasz Fabianski's right-hand post and that proved even more costly with West Ham who needed points themselves to stay away from the relegation zone, made Arsenal pay in brutal fashion.

The Gunners cleared a long throw two minutes later only for Thilo Kehrer to lift a hopeful ball back into the box; Jarrod Bowen timed his run superbly before steering a smart finish past goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale via his left-hand post in the 54th minute.

The 2-2 draw means that West Ham move four points clear of the relegation zone and probably deserved the victory in the end.

Arsenal's lead at the top of the table is reduced to four points, after second placed Man City closed the gap with their 3-1 win over Leicester City on Saturday and crucially have a game in hand while Arsenal will still visit the Etihad on April 26.

When asked if the pressure was getting to his side, who have now dropped points in their last two games, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta told Sky Sports: "When I see a team playing with that flow at the start of the game, that's not pressure. At 2-0 we were not under pressure. We just didn't do what the game required in that moment.

"We could not control what West Ham was proposing after the first goal. If you concede two or three goals away from home, it is very difficult to win football matches. We have to blame ourselves with how we played in our boxes."

The Spaniard was further asked if fatigue was to blame for their second half collapses.

He said: "Fatigue-wise? No. What we produced in the first and second half against Liverpool was similar and today we put a higher input in the second half that we did in the first half. We were slower in everything that we did. I don't think the team is fatigued or looked fatigued. The best way to do it is convince them how good they are and do what they have to do.

"We started extremely well again, dominated the game all over the pitch and scored two beautiful goals. After that we made a huge mistake, we stopped playing with the same purpose to score the third and the fourth one.

"It looked too easy. And on that moment, we gave them hope. Credit to West Ham, they took it. They did what they did really well, playing really direct with long throws and corners.

"We really struggled to get out of their game. If you don't defend the box the way we should, the two goals we conceded, then you have to do many other things much better.

"We need to have that ruthless mindset to go and kill a team. When a team is there for the taking, we have to kill the team. And when you don't do that in the Premier League, at some stage it's going to turn around.

"You have to fight and earn the right to play, but when we need it, you need to have more composure."

West Ham boss David Moyes said: "We tried to put Arsenal put under pressure, we were quicker and got up to people faster. We did a lot of things better today than we have before. We need to get back to it. It was a big result especially after being behind.

"At 2-0 down we didn't deserve to be as I didn't think Arsenal threatened much. They did look incredibly slick - I didn't think people were saying West Ham were bad, so for us to hang in and pressure them. And we got our moment with the penalty kick. It got us back in the game.

"Fine lines in football. It's so small. They get a penalty kick after half-time after we started well. We got good fortune with the missed penalty and then I fancied us to get a third one."

Arsenal are back in Premier League action on Friday when they host bottom-of-the-table Southampton at the Emirates Stadium, While West Ham host Gent in the second leg Europa Conference League quarter-final on Thursday evening.  The first leg ended 1-1 at the Ghelamco Arena in Belgium last week, before they visit Bournemouth in the league on Sunday.


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