Mikel Arteta mistakently stated that Arsenal are top of the Premier League after Thursday night’s agonising defeat at home to West Ham. The Gunners boss was then corrected by an Amazon Prime reporter, who delivered the bad news that Liverpool were in fact top of the tree heading into another round of fixtures on New Year’s Eve.
Arsenal had the chance to regain top spot with a win over the Hammers, who arrived at the Emirates Stadium off the back of a 2-0 victory at home to Manchester United. But Arteta’s men fluffed their lines under pressure from Liverpool, Manchester City and Aston Villa.
Tomas Soucek notched the visitors’ opener inside a quarter of an hour, but there was more than a tinge of controversy surrounding whether or not Jarrod Bowen successfully kept the ball in play in the build-up. VAR found that there was not conclusive evidence to support overturning the referee’s decision, which was to award the goal.
There were no such queries around the second of the night, with Konstantinos Mavropanos heading in off the crossbar against his former team, sparking rampant celebrations in the away end.
Arsenal were unable to mount a dramatic late comeback, as they have done so often under Arteta. But the manager chose to look on the bright side after the final whistle – or so he thought – by incorrectly pointing out that his side were top of the table.
“What we need is to finish the actions better,” he told Prime Video. “The [players] have done it, they did it last year and we are where we are. We’re top of the league so that means that the team does a lot of good things.”
“It is gone and there is not much we can do now. But if the technology we have is not good enough, what we have to do without that is win the game with the amount of situations we generated.
“We haven’t scored with 30 shots. I cannot imagine a game more dominant. Today it wasn’t enough to win the game. But the team deserved to win the game. We missed a lot of situations. But I love the players the most.”