Four things Arteta got wrong as Arsenal lose to Everton thanks to Leno own goal
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Arsenal's Premier League campaign continued to disappoint as they were beaten 1-0 by Everton in Friday's clash at the Emirates.
The Gunners passed the ball around Everton's half without creating too much in the way of chances in the first period, while the visitors looked more dangerous when they counter-attacked, with Gylfi Sigurdsson rattling the bar and Dominic Calvert-Lewin failing to make the most of his side's best chance.
Arsenal were awarded a penalty early in the second half after Dani Ceballos went down following a foolish challenge from Richarlison – but the decision was overturned for offside following a VAR check.
They stepped up the tempo after that, but went behind when Richarlison got the better of makeshift left-back Granit Xhaka and saw his cross-shot go in off Bernd Leno's legs.
Jordan Pickford was called on to make a couple of saves as the Gunners desperately sought a late equaliser, and Everton held on for an away win that moved them to within three points of fourth-placed Chelsea.
Four things Arteta got wrong
Lack of intensity
Arsenal probed and passed the ball around Everton's half throughout most of the first half, but their attacks never looked incisive.
They stepped up the tempo after the break but still struggled to carve out decent chances.
Arteta's side may be languishing in ninth place with little chance of qualifying for Europe through their league position, but that doesn't mean they can play with the lack of intensity of a mid-table team seeing out the season.
The manager still has much to do to prove he can be the man to lead Arsenal into the future, and while this is a transitional season, the signs of transition to something better need to start showing.
Against the background of protests outside the stadium against the club's ownership, Arteta said himself before the game that winning would be the " best way to contribute" – but failed to deliver.
Nketiah's reward for his equaliser against Fulham was a rare start as the focal point of Arsenal's attack.
Okay, Arteta didn't have too may options with Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both out – although he could have given Gabriel Martinelli a chance to impress from the kick-off.
Nketiah held the ball up well at times, and while he would have liked better services from his team-mates, he didn't do enough to show he can be the future of Arsenal's attack.
Leno and Xhaka
Arsenal's No 1 Leno was back in between the sticks following Mat Ryan's home debut against Fulham, and didn't have much to do for most of the game.
But Everton's counter-attacks looked much more dangerous than Arsenal's ponderous build-up play, and Leno let himself down when he let Richarlison's shot squirm in off his leg.
It has to be said that Xhaka was also at fault for letting Richarlison get away from him – although Arteta's hand has been forced to a degree in terms of playing the midfielder at left-back with Kieran Tierney out.
The part both Leno and Xhaka played in the comical goal highlights the need for Arteta to reinforce both positions in the summer.
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Changes too late
Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Martinelli and Willian came on late in the game as Arteta tried to impact the game.
Odegaard was only ever going to get a late run-out due to his recent injury, but the substitutions could have made sooner as Arsenal desperately sought a breakthrough.
Ultimately, the changes came too late to engineer the much-needed that win Arteta called for in his pre-match interview.
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- Arsenal FC
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