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Arteta ‘worried’ by Arsenal mistakes

Chelsea beat Gunners 2-1 after Hector Bellerin's howler, while Thomas Partey to undergo scan after limping out of Sunday's friendly defeat with ankle injury

02 August, 2021 — By Steve Barnett

Mikel Arteta: ‘We showed some really positive stuff, and some worrying stuff’

WITH the new season closing in fast, Mikel Arteta has admitted that he is “worried” his Arsenal players are still struggling to grasp some of his tactical demands.

Defensive errors again proved costly on Sunday as the Gunners were beaten 2-1 by Chelsea in a competitive pre-season encounter at the Emirates Stadium.

It was the winning goal – scored by a striker linked with a move to Arsenal this summer – that would surely have concerned Arteta the most. Tammy Abraham pounced on Hector Bellerin’s loose pass before firing home from just inside the area with 18 minutes left on the clock.

Quizzed on his thoughts after seeing his side concede yet another goal while trying to play out from the back, Arteta said: “It worries me because when you give the ball away when you’re in the position we’re in, in one or two passes they can attack your goal.

“It’s a really difficult situation to resolve. From those situations, as well, we created many chances. We need to know when to take the risk. You know that against these teams, they punish you in the Premier League.”

Chelsea took the lead on 27 minutes when Timo Werner set-up compatriot Kai Havertz, who drilled the ball past Bernd Leno in the Arsenal goal.

Midway through the second half Granit Xhaka – making his first appearance of pre-season – rose highest in the penalty area to head home the equaliser.

But the majority of the 20,000-plus home crowd that were allowed into the Emirates Stadium were soon silenced when the Blue’s cashed in on Bellerin’s mistake to win the match.

Arteta added: “I think we showed some really positive stuff, and some worrying stuff when we gave the ball away in difficult positions.”

Arsenal travel to Brentford in their Premier League opener on Friday, August 13. They will continue their pre-season this Sunday away to north London rivals Spurs in their second outing in the Mind Series.

But preparations for the new campaign soured against Chelsea when Thomas Partey limped off with an ankle injury.

“At the moment it’s not looking good because he was in pain and he could not continue which, for Thomas, is pretty unusual,” admitted concerned Arsenal manager Arteta.

Partey’s injury leaves the Gunners short in midfield – but not as short as some Arsenal fans might have been hoping.

Arteta confirmed after the Chelsea game that goalscorer Xhaka will be staying at the club this season despite interest from Serie A side Roma.

Xhaka’s potential departure excited a number of Gooners, who are convinced that the the 28-year-old midfielder simply isn’t good enough.

But the Swiss captain will be around for at least one more season, after Arteta revealed: “Xhaka is staying. He is a key player for us.”

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