"No, let’s not put excuses": Arteta Reflects on Arsenal's defeat and Saka's injury in France
Despite taking an early lead courtesy of a well-placed strike from Gabriel Jesus, Arsenal suffered a 2-1 setback against last season’s Ligue 1 runners-up, Lens, on Tuesday.
While the Brazilian's clinical finish seemed to set the tone for the evening, the hosts had other plans.
Lens bounced back with goals on either side of halftime from Adrien Thomasson and Elye Wahi, denying the Gunners crucial points in a fervent atmosphere.
Manager Mikel Arteta, in a post-match interview with www.arsenal.com, emphasized the need for responsibility and refraining from searching for external factors.
"No, let’s not put excuses. First of all, congratulations to Lens, they are a really good side, really well coached," Arteta began.
Highlighting the pivotal moments during the match, he stated, "The difference was in the boxes; we had four or five big chances and didn’t put them away, and we didn’t defend the boxes well enough."
One of the night's pressing concerns was Bukayo Saka's injury, with Arteta revealing, "He tried to backheel the ball and felt something. It was something muscular, and he was uncomfortable to carry on, so we had to take him off."
The availability of Saka for upcoming fixtures remains a point of worry as Arteta confessed, "I have no clue, I don’t know."
Takehiro Tomiyasu and Reiss Nelson did come close to finding the net in the second half, but Lens showcased their mettle to ensure the points remained in France.
Speaking about the charged atmosphere, Arteta commented, "Obviously, the atmosphere I imagine is a big energy boost... In a lot of moments, we quietened the crowd, but after we gave them life in those two situations where we conceded the goals."