Arsenal took on a struggling Fulham side at the Emirates Stadium in one of Saturday's several fixtures yet managed to snatch a draw from the jaws of victory.
The North London giants conceded inside the first minute of a home league game for the third time in 2023, with Bukayo Saka's misplaced pass and Aaron Ramsdale's poor positioning gifting the visitors an early lead.
However, the Gunners managed to turn things around in two minutes, with Saka equalizing in the 70th minute before Eddie Nketiah put the hosts in front in the 72nd minute. Calvin Bassey was then sent off in the final 10 minutes of normal time but despite this tremendous advantage, the Gunners picked up only a point.
Joao Palhinha scored the equalizer from a corner kick for 10-man Fulham, with the Cottagers leaving the Emirates Stadium with a point. Arsenal fans were understandably frustrated by this result as the club's habit of conceding sloppy goals at home continues.
Speaking after the game, Arteta was asked about what went wrong and why the hosts dropped two points. The Spaniard argued that his side deserved the win and highlighted their lack of efficiency in the opposition's box as an issue.
However, this did not spare the tactician from the ire of the fans. Arteta's decision to leave Gabriel Magalhaes on the bench, play Thomas Partey as an inverted right-back, and start Kai Havertz for a third consecutive game frustrated supporters.
FT: 2-2. Bad result, poor performance, and it's mainly Arteta's fault. Tried to be too clever with his tinkering and we paid the price.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) August 26, 2023
Arteta needs to stop putting Gabriel on the bench. He's fundamental to this team.— Eduardo Hagn (@EduardoHagn) August 26, 2023
Watching the game at the Emirates today. Arteta mixes up the backline again, causing us to look out of place. The second half was much better but why couldn't we have started with that team? Havertz isn't suited to our style and needs to be benched ASAP.— Hiten. (@HitenPatel13) August 26, 2023
You keep buying xG underperformers in the boxes, mate. https://t.co/tbYoi1pJWD— AMftbl2023 (@Saka_TheBlessed) August 26, 2023
Another two goals conceded at home. Just conceding far too many totally avoidable goals at the Emirates. So poor to concede from a set piece after working so hard to get in front. Some big decisions for Arteta to make now in terms of the set-up and personnel.— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) August 26, 2023
Great subs from Arteta, poor and wrong gameplan to start the game with. This is what tinkering with dynamics gets you.— BP (@BallProgression) August 26, 2023
2 massive points lost for NOTHING. https://t.co/I62nfnuhTi
In the past 3 games Saliba has had to attempt at least 8 last ditch tackles. 2 last ditch sliding tackles. 1 which could have been costly today. A sending off and a penalty. Arteta is putting too much strain of him. I'm starting to believe Arteta is seeing them as robots.— Z (@spectrumphysic) August 26, 2023
Meanwhile, while Saka and Co. did miss a handful of opportunities, the English winger and fellow attacker Gabriel Martinelli were left isolated due in part to Arteta's tactical set-up.
Things get trickier for Arsenal from here, with the North London giants facing Manchester United next weekend. After the international break, Arteta's men travel to Everton, a ground where he has struggled, and will need to find solutions to their 2023-24 issues immediately.