Mikel Arteta admitted his side came up short in both boxes as Arsenal slumped to defeat to West Ham to miss out on regaining top spot in the Premier League.
The Gunners remain behind Liverpool as they lost 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium on what Arteta conceded was one of the most frustrating nights of his four-year tenure as Arsenal boss.
Tomas Soucek’s opener – awarded after the VAR could not determine whether the whole ball had gone out of play in the build up – and a second-half header from former Arsenal defender Konstantinos Mavropanos earned the visitors a deserved win.
Things could have been even better had Said Benrahma not had a stoppage-time penalty saved by David Raya on a night where Arteta applauded the performances of the opposition.
“I congratulate West Ham and praise my players. That’s what I can tell you,” he said.
“This is football. When you look at how much we generated in the game, to see the result is very disappointing. But they were better than us in both boxes. They had two shots, with the penalty three. We had 30.
“If we don’t score with 30 shots, then we have to do 50 or 60 to try to score. That’s the only thing. I can’t imagine a game where we have more touches in the box, more dominance and less situations for the opponent against a really good West Ham side. Today though, it wasn’t enough to win the game.”
Asked if it was among the most frustrating nights of his managerial career, Arteta replied: “It is. But it’s football. Normally when the team generates so much it’s going to win games.
“That’s the way we’ve done it. Against Brighton, we generated so much and against Liverpool as well, but we score goals in different ways.
“We have to make another step in that area to win games more comfortably, that’s for sure, because today the team deserves to win the game. There’s no question about that.”
Arteta successfully fought a Football Association charge after he criticised the officiating and VAR in defeat at Newcastle last month and was less vocal this time.
He did, however, suggest technology needs to be further advanced to make close calls, adding: “They’re saying it’s not conclusive. It’s a shame that with the technology that we have, that it’s not that clear so that we can say whether it’s out or in. It’s done. It’s gone. There’s nothing we can do about it now.
“If the technology we have at the moment is not good enough to give us that answer, what we have to do is without that win the game. With the number of situations we generated in the game, that should have been more than enough.”
For West Ham and manager David Moyes, this was a rare taste of victory at the Emirates Stadium – Moyes had failed to secure victory in his previous 72 Premier League away games at Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool or Manchester United.
West Ham were 17th at the turn of the year but went on to win the Europa Conference League and now sit just four points off the top four after this hard-fought and deserved win.
Moyes is out of contract in the summer but, on the four-year anniversary of his reappointment as West Ham boss, feels a new deal will soon be ironed out.
“We’re getting ready to talk,” he told Amazon Prime.
“I don’t think any of us are jumping to get it done too quickly, I think we are just happy to make sure we get it done. We will do, I don’t see any problems with that at all.
“We are not one of the top teams. We are trying to get up and grow the team. For West Ham to be in Europe is a great period.”