Arsene Wenger laments 'lacklustre' Arsenal attack vs. Bournemouth
Arsene Wenger admitted that Arsenal were "lacklustre" in attack in Sunday's 2-1 loss at Bournemouth, and lamented "very surprising mistakes" on the goals conceded.
Wenger left Alexis Sanchez at home as the Chilean nears an exit from the club while Mesut Ozil was injured, leaving Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck to play with Alexandre Lacazette in attack. While Hector Bellerin put the Gunners ahead shortly after the break, they looked toothless for most of the match and collapsed defensively as Callum Wilson and Jordon Ibe completed a comeback win for the Cherries.
"We looked a bit lacklustre in the final third, not sharp enough to create chances," Wenger told a news conference. "When you are 1-0 up normally you should create more to be dangerous and we paid for that."
Arsenal's chronic defensive weakness then cost the team again as goalkeeper Petr Cech misjudged a run off his line to let Wilson equalise, and Rob Holding misplayed an offside trap in the lead-up to Bournemouth's winner.
"We made two very surprising mistakes that were not even forced errors, it was just a lack of decision-making, and overall you come out of the game thinking: how did we lose the game?" Wenger said.
Arsenal have struggled in away games all season long and also failed to protect a 1-0 lead in the 2-1 loss at Watford and 1-1 draw at West Brom. This latest setback leaves them mired in sixth place and staring at a second straight season out of the Champions League.
Wenger, though, pointed to a shortage of available players when attempting to explain the poor performance. Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal and Olivier Giroud are still sidelined, while Aaron Ramsey and Sead Kolasinac were on the bench after returning from injuries.
"When you look today we missed many players in our squad and you see that they have a weight in the team," Wenger said. "I don't think we didn't work hard, we have come out of the Chelsea game where we gave a lot, we worked hard. We worked hard today, but we made mistakes and I wouldn't say the team hasn't worked or not played with a good spirit.
"They were focused and the attitude is one thing, but at that level it is a combination of quality and attitude, and today I question more the quality of what we have created, than the attitude of the players. The attitude of the players was strong."
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.