Arsenal bottled a lead in the most Arsenal way to give Slavia Prague an advantage going into the second-leg next week.
Mikel Arteta’s team selection came under intense scrutiny before the game. Hector Bellerin started after missing each of our five previous league games, while Willian also got the nod ahead of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Gabriel Martinelli.
Arsenal were the more dominant side in both halves, but like we always do, we failed to convert our chances. Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette both missed fairly easy opportunities, and it looked like one of those nights at that point.
Arteta brought on Nicolas Pepe and Aubameyang for the final 15 minutes of the game. The pair combined to give us the lead in the 86th minute, and that looked like that, but we are Arsenal and we love shooting ourselves in the foot.
Cedric and Gabriel overplayed at the back and that gave Slavia an opportunity to score, but Bernd Leno denied them. The visitors, however, scored from the subsequent corner, just a minute before the final whistle.
Arsenal now have to score next week to get past Slavia. The performance tonight was better than the one on Saturday, but it’s still nowhere near good enough, and sadly, Arteta has to take the blame for this one.
The Arsenal boss waited until the 72nd minute to make his first substitution – Gabriel Martinelli for Willian. Arteta took five minutes more to bring on Pepe and Auba, and although that worked, the trio should’ve come on much earlier.
The timing of Arteta’s substitutions have been criticised in the past as well. It remains one of his weak points even today, and many Arsenal fans believe that his reluctance to change his personnel earlier than he did cost us the win tonight.