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Mikel Arteta rues defensive lapses and poor finishing in Arsenal’s draw with Slavia Prague


Mikel Arteta was left to lament the chances his side passed up and sloppy defending that resulted in the Gunners drawing 1-1 with Slavia Prague in the first leg of their Europa League quarter final.

The Gunners looked on course to secure a first-leg lead after Nicolas Pepe climbed off the bench to fire them in front.

However, four minutes into stoppage time, Tomas Holes popped up to draw Slavia level ahead of the second leg in Prague next week.

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Arsenal could have put the tie out of sight, but Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette missed big chances to secure a sizeable lead.

And they were made to pay the price, as sloppy defending in their own third gifted Slavia a corner which they turned into their late equaliser.

“We missed big chances,” Arteta told BT Sport. “We then played two or three balls in certain areas we should not do and we put ourselves on the back foot. We then conceded the corner. There were a lot of bodies in there and anything can happen.

“It changes a lot the feeling after the game.”

Arteta was happy with aspects of the performance, their pressing up high in particular, and will set his side up to go for victory next week.

“I think we were very effective in our high press,” he said. “We controlled that pretty well and caused problems in the first half, but it is about the final result that leaves a difficult taste.

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“The mindset is to go and win the game. We have to go there and score. We have done it in the past and we need to do it again.”

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