MIKEL ARTETA wasn’t shy about his feelings towards Arsenal’s Europa League elimination.
“It hurts, big time,” Arteta said after the match. “We had a lot of hope in this competition. It was a great way for us to be able to go to Europe and it is a very beautiful competition to try to win.”
“I think we did a lot of positive things in the game,” Arteta said. “I think we created enough chances to win, but if you concede two set-pieces again in a tie like this you put yourself in big trouble.”
The Gunners, in truth, did not create much, at least not through regulation. It may have been enough to expect victory, but it was not enough for a team with an attacking mentality.
Arsenal racked up 2.19 expected goals through the match, but their two best chances came late with Aubameyang’s last-gasp miss and Alexandre Lacazette failing to strike with a 77th minute diving header.
“This is football and sometimes it is very cruel when the emotions are right here [raises hand high],” Arteta said in the press conference, “then in another moment they’re somewhere else [lowers hand]. You have to able to handle that if you want to be in this industry so now it’s up to us, and up to me, to bring this place back in and move forward.”
The Gunners are still in the FA Cup, with a fifth round match against Portsmouth on Monday. They sit ninth in the Premier League table, four points back of Manchester United in fifth.