Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has said his side won’t win the Premier League title unless they improve at opposite ends of the pitch after the Gunners lost 2-0 to West Ham United.
Arteta’s charges dominated the game in both possession and chances but fell to a Hammers side more ruthless in their approach, with David Moyes’ team finding the back of the net with two of their three shots on target.
The defeat leaves Arsenal two points off first-placed Liverpool, with Manchester City able to leapfrog them after today’s game with Sheffield United.
Asked whether his side can push higher up the table and win the league, Arteta was frank in his assessment.
“If we don’t improve in the boxes, no,” he said. “Because at the end that is what it is. It’s not [time to] panic, it is about trying to do more, do better and win games. If the team plays like this, we are going to win a lot of games.
“We have to do what we can control. It’s not time to look at other teams. You see how difficult it is for other teams yesterday [Wednesday] and today [Thursday] and it is going to continue to be like that, because the level of the league is incredible.”
In all competitions in December Arsenal won three of seven games, and will travel to Fulham on New Year’s Eve too. Asked if such a dense fixture schedule is affecting his side’s form, Arteta returned to his view that taking chances is more important.
“Obviously there are a lot of games but they looked really good, looked fresh. When you win, you don’t look at that. They [the players] are young. If they were 35 maybe it would be a different question. They are young, they have a lot of energy. They can keep going, that is for sure.
“Without a spark you don’t generate what the team generated today [v West Ham]. It is impossible. But it is the final thing, the final touch, the final action that puts the ball in the net or not. That is what we need.”
Victory at Craven Cottage would put the Gunners top as the league enters 2024, with Liverpool not playing until New Year’s Day.
More Arsenal stories
But the Gunners could be about to sign a highly-rated European wonderkid.