Football

Individual mistakes cost Arsenal, says Wright

Gunners legend believes Wenger's men had opportunities to beat Man United

Arsenal could have beaten Manchester United at the Emirates yesterday morning (Singapore time), said Gunners legend Ian Wright.

However, Arsene Wenger's men were let down by sloppy errors, which presented United with goalscoring opportunities that they took full advantage of to win 3-1.

"Arsene Wenger said it was a disastrous start for them with the mistakes they made," Wright said on BBC's Match of the Day.

"Arsenal had 33 shots compared to Manchester United's eight, but there were mistakes in that.

"I'm not taking anything away from United, and the way they played, but you don't play a pass across the pitch like (Laurent) Koscielny did for the first goal.

"I think those goals could have been avoided by simply just switching on."

Defensive sloppiness allowed Antonio Valencia and Jesse Lingard to put a livewire United side 2-0 up after 11 minutes.

Alexandre Lacazette replied early in the second half but Lingard struck again on the break just past the hour, as Arsenal suffered their first home defeat in the league since January.

Another ex-Arsenal stalwart, Martin Keown, felt that Mesut Oezil and Co. had performed creditably.

Speaking as a pundit on BT Sport, the former defender said: "They had performed well, I felt, (it's) just that naivety.

"I thought Oezil was outstanding today. You can't question their performance, but the way that (Man United goalkeeper David) de Gea managed to keep the ball out - was it 15 saves?

"Arsenal just needed the next goal after Lacazette scored, but they couldn't get it."

Wenger also attributed the loss to a poor start, which wrecked their hopes of extending a 12-match home-winning sequence in the English Premier League.

Their winning run, their best at home for 12 years, began in April against West Ham.

"I think we didn't start well at all at the back and we are guilty of that," said Wenger, who has won only twice in 19 clashes with Man United manager Jose Mourinho.

"Psychologically, it was a big blow to go 2-0 down so early on - especially at home. We were too on the edge mentally maybe - you cannot be in a game like that.

"We played well but there is nothing more frustrating than when you have that quality of performance and nothing to show for it at the end.

"The attitude was impeccable until the end. But you cannot make the mistakes we made at the beginning."

Defeat was a bitter pill for Arsenal to swallow after three successive wins.

Yet the way Wenger's men responded to adversity drew applause from the home crowd at the end and, had it not been for an inspired display by de Gea, Arsenal might have continued their winning run.

33 SHOTS

"I don't know if you've watched many top-level games but when you have 33 shots at goal in a game of that stature, it means that our dominance was top class," Wenger said.

"But I'm angry and disappointed because we had nothing to show for it. I am proud of their commitment and attitude, I feel sorry for the players that gave so much."

Arsenal slipped to fifth spot with 28 points from 15 games, a point behind Liverpool and 12 behind leaders Manchester City, who hosted West Ham this morning. - WIRE SERVICES

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