Mikel Arteta accused Thomas Partey of failing to grasp the gravity of the situation after he left the field injured in the build-up to Tottenham’s crucial second goal in Sunday’s north London derby.
After Heung-Min Son’s stunning long-range strike had given Spurs the lead on the counter at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Arsenal were hit by another break in first-half stoppage-time as the injured Partey vacated midfield and allowed Harry Kane to double the lead.
“Thomas is out, he’s limping, he’s in pain, he has to come off and we lost a man in that crucial transition moment,” Arteta told Sky Sports. “He has to fall on the floor.
“I wanted him on the pitch, doing whatever he could for the team in that situation. No one expected him not to be in that position.”
Speaking in his post-match press conference, Arteta added: “I was trying to push him back on the pitch, I don’t think he realised the gravity of the situation when he left his position.
“That was probably because he was in a lot of pain. There is nothing we can do at the moment to resolve that.”
Alex Scott and Graeme Souness were critical of Thomas Partey’s decision to walk off the pitch in the build-up to Tottenham’s second goal in Arsenal’s 2-0 Premier League defeat.
Asked if he was frustrated or annoyed with Partey’s exit, Arteta replied: “It was too quick, we were through, I think it was a four-against-three situation for us to play the final ball and we were through. Suddenly they were coming to us and Thomas is walking to me and I am trying to push him.
“I haven’t spoken to him. I don’t know exactly how it happened and if he felt something really serious. I will look at it and we will talk about it.”
Arsenal were not outplayed at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but rarely threatened Spurs, delivering a league-high 44 crosses into the area throughout the duration of the game but failing to find the target.
It means the Gunners have now won just one of their last seven Premier League matches, while Arteta is coming under increasing pressure on the back of Arsenal’s worst league start since 1981/82.
For Arteta the salutation to Arsenal’s problems is simple one: “By scoring goals. Very simple. We need to score goals. It is not sustainable.
“It doesn’t matter what we do in other departments if we don’t score, we need to put the ball into the net urgently. At the moment it looks like we need a lot to score a goal.
“In terms of the performance, they did everything that I asked them to do. We played the way we had to play this game. All the stats are in our favour, at the end of the day it is about putting the ball in the back of the net.”