SOUVENIR PROGRAMME

Mikel Arteta makes laughable claim that Arsenal “deserved to win” – after losing 2-0

Mikel Arteta insisted his Arsenal side “deserved to win” their FA Cup clash with Liverpool, after seeing them make 16 shots but concede twice to lose 2-0.

Based on xG, the final scoreline should have been 1.61-0.67 – or, perhaps more simply, 2-1 – with Arsenal progressing to the fourth round.

But football does not work that way, with Liverpool generating the highest tally of xG since records began on New Year’s Day, with 7.27, but only scoring four in their 4-2 win over Newcastle.

Missed chances, of which there were many for the likes of Bukayo Saka, Kai Havertz and Martin Odegaard, are a clear sign that a side did not deserve to win.

Speaking to BBC Sport after the game, however, Arteta was adamant Arsenal merited the victory.

“The performance for sure was there, the amount of chances, situations,” he said.

“Performance-wise, we deserved to win the game, there’s no question about that.

“But actually we lost it, so we’re not capitalising. In football, in sport, you have to capitalise to win games, and at the moment, we aren’t doing it.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 7, 2024: Arsenal's Jakub Kiwior scores an own-goal to give Liverpool a 1-0 lead during the FA Cup 3rd Round match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at the Emirates Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Arteta continued: “When you are better than the best team in Europe, and you generate that amount of chances, I haven’t seen a team this season do it the way we’ve done it twice against them.

“But if you don’t win it, it’s not enough.

“We have generated so much in two games against them, the reality is we’ve scored [once] from a wide free-kick. It’s not enough.”

Arteta was clearly frustrated with his side’s inability to convert chances, while at the other end, Jakub Kiwior diverted Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s free-kick into his own net.

Luis Diaz sealed the win with an ice-cold finish late on, which was Liverpool’s first and only ‘big chance’ of the game to Arsenal‘s four, per FotMob.

More broadly, Liverpool had 12 shots to Arsenal‘s 18, which suggests things weren’t as clear-cut as their manager would claim.

Asked how Arsenal can rectify their situation, a clearly bitter Arteta backed his players but let his frustration out against Liverpool.

“What can you do! I cannot tell them ‘listen, play worse than Liverpool, be worse, shoot once on target and we’re going to win the game’,” he replied.

“No. We have to generate more and help them more and give them confidence.

“When my team plays with that attitude and desire, what can I do? Just stick behind them, 100 percent.”