Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was once again one of Arsenal’s better performers on a frustrating afternoon against West Brom, and had his say after another disappointing defeat.
The 23-year-old started as part of a midfield trio alongside Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka.
Having conceded from two corners as well as a poorly defended counter-attack, the defeat adds further pressure on Arsène Wenger and his players. It’s now four defeats in the last five league matches for Arsenal, and the Ox was honest when questioned post-match.
As quoted by the club’s official website he said, “We’re very disappointed. In the first-half, I felt it was very comfortable for us, and we just had to be careful of them on the counter-attack and on set plays.
“They scored from a set play but we responded quite quickly and for the rest of the half, I felt we controlled it.
“It felt like it was a matter of time until we broke them down. And then in the second-half, they came out with a different attitude – they pressed us higher and made it a lot harder for us… West Brom made it really tough and defended really well from then on.
“Ultimately it’s a really disappointing day for us,” he continued.
Defensive frailties highlighted again
Arsenal’s Achilles’ heel in recent seasons has been their inability to defend effectively from set-pieces. The Ox’s comments were revealing though, as he admitted: “It’s really disappointing because we knew we had to be careful of him [goalscorer Craig Dawson].
“Set plays are what Tony Pulis’ sides do better than anyone. We knew that and we failed to deal with it today.
“It’s not what we needed. We knew we needed three points and we need as many points as we can get, especially in these games.
“We’re bitterly disappointed and all I can say is we’re sorry to the fans because that’s not acceptable for Arsenal Football Club to lose the way we did. We’ve just got to try to get over this now and focus, fight our way out of this.”
Those comments are encouraging from someone who clearly understands the fans’ frustration. Although this defeat is still fresh, you can only hope the Ox’s comments resonate with the rest of the senior players – many of whom have been under-performing for a few months now.