Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech has given up on the Premier League title race after Saturday’s loss to Liverpool and criticised the team’s lack of defensive organisation.
Arsenal lost 3-1 at Anfield to fall out of the top four and remain 13 points behind leaders Chelsea. And Cech conceded that it leaves the Gunners fighting only for a top-four spot from now on.
“With the three points we would have still been in the chase for the title, but now I think we are too far away,” Cech told the club’s website.
“I don’t think Chelsea will lose so many points, so now we need to concentrate on finishing as high as possible and qualifying for the Champions League.”
Arsenal struggled badly in the first half as Liverpool dominated and took a quick lead through Roberto Firmino after nine minutes. Sadio Mane doubled the lead in the 40th minute and the Gunners couldn’t complete a second-half comeback despite playing much better after the break.
Cech was disappointed with the team’s failure to execute their game plan despite having last weekend off.
“We had two weeks to prepare for the game. We knew they were fast on the counter-attack and that they like to press a lot, so we didn’t want to give them a chance to counter-attack,” Cech said.
“The two goals we conceded in the first half were when we were in position, behind the ball and not in immediate danger. They always managed to find the opening unfortunately, and that shouldn’t have happened because we should have been organised enough to prevent it.
“We were not at the level we should have been at in the first half, and it’s difficult to say why.”
Arsenal improved after Alexis Sanchez came on after the half-time break, with Danny Welbeck pulling a goal back after an assist from the Chile forward. But they couldn’t find an equaliser and Georginio Wijnaldum finished off the victory for Liverpool on a quick counter in injury time.
Right-back Hector Bellerin was also frustrated with the team’s failure to respond better to their recent big losses at Chelsea and Bayern Munich.
“After the tough weeks we’ve had, the team should have gone onto the pitch, motivated and ready from the start,” Bellerin said. “In the first half it didn’t feel like we were ready and then we went 2-0 down. We wanted to do everything.
“We got one goal back and had a chance to make it 2-2, but sometimes it’s too late. We just need to start the games better. We need to realise that it’s just not the way to go.
“We need to push harder, to start the games with a better attitude and just go for it because we showed that when we go for it and want something, we can do it.”
Gheventplus.com | Credit: espnfc.com