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Hector Bellerin’s worrying admission after Arsenal throw away win against Slavia Prague


Hector Bellerin made the concerning admission that Arsenal were effectively beating themselves after letting a late one-goal lead slip to draw against Slavia Prague on Thursday.

The Gunners dominated their Czech opponents in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie but spurned a glut of chances which eventually came back to bite them.

It took until the 86th minute for Arsenal to find a breakthrough despite carving out a number of golden opportunities, with Nicolas Pepe finally getting them off the mark.

But their lead was short-lived as Tomas Holes headed home from a corner deep into stoppage time, leaving Bellerin to concede it was Arsenal who were solely to blame.

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“I have to say felt like we had the game under control the whole time but the last five minutes,” Bellerin told BT Sport. “We had chances to score but go to the 85th minute at 1-0. Then it’s about us controlling the game managing the game.

Hector Bellerin has issued a concerning admission about the manner of Arsenal's defeats
Hector Bellerin has issued a concerning admission about the manner of Arsenal’s defeats

“We put ourselves in situations that we shouldn’t be in at that stage. It’s in our hands. And I’ve said it before teams aren’t beating us but it’s us losing the games.”

Arsenal could scarcely have thrown anything more at it going forward, as they hit the woodwork twice, saw Ondrej Kolar pull off some decent saves while also fluffing their lines in front of goal.

Bukayo Saka missed their best chance in the first-half, putting his shot wide of the goal when Rob Holding played him in one v one.

Holding’s header was then tipped over, before Willian rattled the post with a free-kick in the second half, swiftly followed by Alexandre Lacazette skewing his shot against the crossbar when clean through.

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Bernd Leno can't keep out Tomas Holes' injury-time header as Arsenal let their lead slip
Bernd Leno can’t keep out Tomas Holes’ injury-time header as Arsenal let their lead slip

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang let a chance go begging from Emile Smith Rowe’s cross, but quickly made amends when he fed Pepe to race in behind and chip the ball over Kolar to give Arsenal the lead.

Yet Arsenal were unable to see out the victory, as Bellerin picked apart their problems in closing out matches.

Asked why Arsenal were struggling to do so, he replied: “Well I didn’t think that apart from the last five minutes that the game was not under our control. You look at the first half or parts of the second half they didn’t create anything. Or at least nothing that they deserved to be on top of us.

“In the other side we were controlling the game, had chances where we could have gone 1-0, 2-0, but this is football, this is Europe and it’s (about) the team which scores the most goals and we didn’t do that today.

“We need to do something about the way we manage those last five minutes in the games because it’s us losing it and we just need to keep working.

“It’s up to us to be compact, keep the ball away from our goal, we’re a team we just need to learn those things.”

Pressed on how Arsenal could learn, Bellerin explained: “It’s about experience, we know we need to do that and need to do it on the pitch. Decision-making. Against a team like that who run a lot these decisions can be a bit more difficult at those times.”

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He added: “It’s half-time, we’ll review what we done right, what we done wrong and I’m excited to go there and beat them.”





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