Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has expressed his concerns over the Gunners’ poor defensive performance, after playing 2-2 draw with Sporting Lisbon in the first leg Europa League last-16 tie on Thursday.
Arsenal took the lead in the 22nd minute through William Saliba but Goncalo Inacio equalised in the 34th minute.
Sporting Lisbon then went 2-1 ahead in the 55th before Arsenal equalised when Hidemasa Morita netted an own goal in the 62nd minute.
Despite the draw Arteta was unhappy with his side as they conceded two goals for the second successive game following their 3-2 Premier League win over Bournemouth last weekend.
And speaking after the game, Arsenal told reporters:”We are conceding too many simple goals and we’ve talked about the importance of boxes, and especially in a competition where you are in or out.
“We didn’t defend that well enough, and we have to do better up against our opponents.”
Arteta said the team lacked their usual attacking threat due to the absence of some key players, including striker Gabriel Jesus who is yet to reach full fitness after suffering a knee injury at the World Cup in early December.
“We had some positives because we showed a lot of resilience to get back in the game, but we need to defend our box much better and we have to be in the return leg to beat them,” Arteta added.
The second leg will be played at the Emirates on March 16.
Meanwhile, Arsenal, who have a five-point lead over second-placed Manchester City, will travel to Fulham for Sunday’s league game.
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