Arsenal’s hopes in the Champions League took a hit on Tuesday night as they suffered a defeat against Lens in their group stage encounter in France. Manager Mikel Arteta, in a post-match reflection, acknowledged the need for improvement in both attack and defense. The match also saw the concerning injury of star player Bukayo Saka, whose condition Arteta described as “not looking good.”
Despite taking an early lead with a 14th-minute goal from Gabriel Jesus, Arsenal faced a setback as Adrien Thomasson leveled the score on 25 minutes. The decisive blow came in the 69th minute when Elye Wahi secured a victory for Lens.
Currently standing second in their group with three points, Arsenal faces Manchester City in the upcoming weekend. However, the chief disappointment for Arteta and the team is the injury to Bukayo Saka. The English international, who operates on the left side, limped off with what appeared to be an issue with his hamstring or thigh.
Arteta, speaking to TNT Sports, expressed his concern about Saka’s injury, stating that it “doesn’t look good.” When questioned about the severity of the problem, Arteta hinted at the possibility of further investigation by the club to determine the extent of the injury.
Reflecting on the defeat, Arteta praised Lens as a formidable opponent, describing them as a “really good side.” Despite taking the lead, Arteta pointed out that mistakes in both attack and defense impacted the outcome. He emphasized the need to convert goal-scoring opportunities and improve defensive capabilities.
“In many occasions we attacked the space – but it was [decided] in the boxes. We missed some big chances and didn’t defend well enough for their goals,” Arteta stated. “Mistakes happen in football, and they will continue to be there somehow, but the difference was made in both boxes. You have to put the ball in the back of the net and defend well.”
Acknowledging the significance of the match, Arteta highlighted the learning opportunity it presented despite not achieving the desired result.
Providing details on Saka’s injury, Arteta explained, “It was an action. It was a backheel, and he felt something on this specific action. He was too uncomfortable to continue.” The extent of Saka’s injury remains uncertain, adding an element of concern for Arsenal as they prepare for upcoming fixtures.
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