Belfast Telegraph

Arteta slams Aresenal after easy victory against Anderlecht is thrown away

Arsenal 3-3 Anderlecht

By Tom Allnutt

Mikel Arteta admitted that Arsenal "threw everything away" as they surrendered a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 with Anderlecht in the Champions League.

Arteta's penalty and Alexis Sanchez's brilliant volley put the hosts firmly in the driving seat at half-time before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looked to have sealed all three points with a third early in the second half.

The Gunners scored twice in the last three minutes to win 2-1 in the reverse fixture a fortnight ago and Anderlecht exacted sweet revenge with an incredible second-half comeback.

Anthony Vanden Borre gave the visitors hope just after the hour with a close-range header and he added another from the penalty spot to make it 3-2.

Anderlecht claimed the equaliser, which meant Arsenal missed the chance to book their place in the Champions League knockout stages, when substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic headed home in the 90th minute.

"The main aim when you start the competition is winning the group, so we threw everything away today," said Arteta.

"We have another two chances still, but you can't miss a chance in the Champions League.

"We cannot afford to make the mistakes and concede three goals after going 3-0 up. It's not good enough. We're very disappointed and we missed a great opportunity to finish the job properly.

"We know what we're playing for and it was a massive day for us. What happened in the second half is not the level required at this club."

A victory for the Gunners would have guaranteed their place in the knockout stages after Borussia Dortmund thrashed Galatasaray 4-1. Arsenal host Dortmund next before an awkward final group fixture away to Galatasaray.

Arsenal finally made the breakthrough in the 24th minute as Chancel Mbemba was caught the wrong side of Danny Welbeck in the area and bundled the striker to the floor. The referee pointed to the spot and Arteta coolly chipped the ball down the middle to score his first goal of the season.

Five minutes later Arsenal were two up after a storming Sanchez run earned a free-kick on the edge of box. The Chilean took the kick and while his initial effort struck the wall, he volleyed the rebound hard and low past Silvio Proto for his fifth goal in three games.

Oxlade-Chamberlain scored the third shortly before the hour as Sanchez won the ball in midfield for his team-mate to drive down the left and apply an emphatic finish into the far corner.

Anderlecht instantly pulled a goal back as Vanden Borre converted substitute Andy Kawaya's cross. The Belgians then reduced the deficit to one goal as Nacho Monreal wrestled Mitrovic to the ground and another penalty was awarded, which Vanden Borre calmly converted to set the home fans' nerves jangling.

Full of confidence, Anderlecht went in search of a dramatic equaliser as Frank Acheampong sent a sizzling long-range shot just over in the 80th minute.

Arsenal had surrendered control of the game and Mitrovic ensured the comeback was complete as he headed past Wojciech Szczesny in the 90th minute.

Belfast Telegraph


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