Oxlade-Chamberlain says sorry to Arsenal fans after latest setback
PUBLISHED: 07:53 20 March 2017
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Gunners slip to sixth following West Brom defeat
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain apologised to Arsenal fans following their Premier League defeat against West Bromwich Albion at the weekend.
The England international admitted the 3-1 loss at The Hawthorns was ‘unacceptable’ as the out-of-sorts Gunners suffered a fourth reverse in their last five league outings.
“It’s not what we needed. We knew we needed three points and we need as many points as we can get, especially in these games,” Oxlade-Chamberlain told arsenal.com.
“We’re bitterly disappointed and all I can say is we’re sorry to the fans because that’s not acceptable for Arsenal Football Club to lose the way we did.”
Arsene Wenger’s men fell behind on 12 minutes as Craig Dawson headed home from a corner, but Alexis Sanchez levelled just three minutes later from Granti Xhaka’s precise pass.
Petr Cech was forced off with an injury eight minutes before the interval, though, and replacement David Ospina was beaten by Hal Robson-Kanu in the second half after a mix-up with Hector Bellerin.
Oxlade-Chamberlain added: “In the first half, I felt it was very comfortable for us, and we just had to be careful of them on the counter-attack and on set plays. They scored from a set play but we responded quite quickly and for the rest of the half, I felt we controlled it. It felt like it was a matter of time until we broke them down.
“Then in the second half, they came out with a different attitude - they pressed us higher and made it a lot harder for us.
“The second goal was disappointing. I can’t really remember what happened, but it was a bit scrappy. Then again, we let ourselves down on a set piece. West Brom made it really tough and defended really well from then on.”
Danny Welbeck went close to a second equaliser for the visitors when his header from a Xhaka corner came hit the crossbar, before an unmarked Dawson headed his second goal of the game to seal the points.
“When you’re defending set plays, you’ve got to be first to the ball. For the two goals, we didn’t do that,” added Oxlade-Chamberlain.
“We knew who their dangermen were and we failed to stop them, which is really disappointing. We’ll look at that and we’ll have to review what went wrong. “Dawson’s got the run and he’s attacked the ball really well for both goals and he’s finished them off.
“It’s really disappointing because we knew we had to be careful of him. Set plays are what Tony Pulis’ sides do better than anyone. We knew that and we failed to deal with it.”
Arsenal ended the weekend down in sixth place, two points behind resurgent Manchester United and six points adrift of Liverpool in a Champions League place.
And their next assignment sees them host Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City on their return from the international break on April 2, in a dress rehearsal for their FA Cup semi-final of April 23.
“We’ve just got to try to get over this now and focus,” said Oxlade-Chamberlain.
“We’ve got to keep fighting because it’s not been pretty for us recently and I’m sure it’s not going to get any easier anytime soon. We’ve just got to try and fight our way out of this.”