Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat to West Ham United was a missed opportunity to return to the top of the Premier League and manager Mikel Arteta said his side must improve at both ends of the pitch to have any hope of winning the title.
Despite holding 75% possession and taking 30 shots with eight on target, Arsenal failed to score against their sixth-placed London rivals at home on Thursday.
They also registered 77 touches in the West Ham box, the most for a team in the top flight that failed to score since 2008-09. Last season’s runners-up now sit two points behind leaders Liverpool at the halfway stage of the campaign.
“There’s no panic, it’s about trying to do more and do better and win games,” Arteta told reporters. “If the team is playing like this, then you’re going to go and win a lot of games.
“If we don’t improve in the boxes, then no (we won’t win the league). Because, in the end, that (the West Ham result) is what it is. “But generating the rest, it was a record. So I don’t think there are many teams in the league who have done that over many years, so it’s something positive I think.” Arsenal’s next match is against Fulham, who are off the back of three straight defeats, on Saturday.
While the schedule might be packed, Arteta insisted his players remain “fresh”. “They are young, if they are 35, then maybe it’s a different question. But they have a lot of energy and can keep going, that’s for sure,” the Spaniard said.
“Without a spark, you don’t generate what the team generated (against West Ham). It is the final thing, the final touch, the final touch that puts the ball in the back of the net or not. That’s what we need.”