Arsenal boss Arteta ‘had the fear’ in Brighton win as ominous warning sent to title rivals | Football | Sport

Mikel Arteta admitted he feared Arsenal had spurned their chance to put pressure on Liverpool by returning to the top of the table. Kicking off before the Merseysiders, goals from Gabriel Jesus and Kai Havertz secured a 2-0 win to put down a marker but only after a worrying failure to make an impact on the visitors’ goal.

“We have great players that can define games and finish actions,” he said. “Today we needed too many situations – especially in big spaces – to finish the game. That was the fear, especially after half time, that it could be one of those days because the moment you give something to this team they’ll take it.

“If we generate more, the probability for scoring will be higher. That’s the only thing that we can focus on.” Ominously, though, he said he is more and more confident that with time it will all come together.

“The team is clicking because we are experiencing more and spending more time together,” he added. “When you talk about Kai Havertz or Declan Rice, for example, now they’ve played more time with us, they understand certain things quicker and it’s easier to understand certain things in games because they get it.”

Arteta revealed that illness suffered by Jorginho took the tally to six victims within the club as the festive fixture list reaches its full intensity.

But Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi felt their European battle against Marseille on Thursday was a more significant factor than Arsenal’s dead-rubber Champions League clash with PSV two days’ earlier.

“Arsenal played much better than us. They deserved to win the game. We suffered a lot. Maybe this season the best team in the Premier League. We are not used to suffering in this way. We are used to controlling the game.

“And we have to recognise and analyse they were better than us. This stadium is difficult for Liverpool, Manchester City and every other team.”

Arsenal face Liverpool away next in a huge Premier League showdown next Saturday while Brighton face their arch rivals Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park this coming Thursday night.

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