Mikel Arteta insisted that Arsenal had the game “under control” before Slavia Prague’s dramatic equaliser in stoppage time.
Arsenal spurned a couple of half-chances in the first half, but their best opportunity of the game fell to Alexandre Lacazette in the second half.
The forward picked the ball up at the halfway line and he advanced unmarked towards goal. He tried to place it in the corner but his effort struck the crossbar.
The Gunners did take the lead in the final ten minutes, though. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang let in Nicolas Pepe inside the penalty area. The winger did well as to reach it before he dinked it over Slavia Prague’s goalkeeper and into the net.
Arteta’s side were left feeling frustrated, however, as Prague grabbed an equaliser in stoppage time. Tomas Holes headed it home at the back post from a corner.
As cited by BBC Sport, Arteta admitted that Prague’s equaliser “changes” his team’s feeling about the game:
“The game was under control. We got the goal we wanted but we missed some big chances as well. We played two or three balls we shouldn’t do and we put ourselves on the back foot and conceded the corner. They put bodies in there and it can happen. It changes the feeling after the game.
“We know that we had the possibility to change things with five substitutes. We thought it was the right time for the set-up we had. It was the right moment and they had a big impact. We know the subs have a lot to say in this competition. Unfortunately, we didn’t capitalise on it.
“It’s difficult because they were a good opponent. They have beaten some big teams and are really difficult to play against. They have a lot of man-to-man situations and you have to resolve them. When we did that, we created chances, but when you can’t, it’s not easy.
“We were effective in our high press – they had the capacity to run in transition if they won the ball back but we controlled that well. It’s more about the final result that leaves a difficult taste.”
On the next leg: “We need to win the game. The mindset is to win the game, we need to score, we’ve done it before and we need to do it again.”
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