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Mikel Arteta hails Arsenal’s spirit despite draw with Crystal Palace

Mikel Arteta praised the spirit of his Arsenal side even after they saw their recent Premier League resurgence ended by a goalless stalemate at home to Crystal Palace.

The Gunners had won three league games in a row heading into the game on Thursday evening but were not at their best and were arguably lucky not to lose to the Eagles.

James Tomkins hit the crossbar with a first-half header, the closest either side came to breaking the deadlock during a forgettable contest.

James Tomkins came closest to breaking the deadlock
James Tomkins came closest to breaking the deadlock (Tess Derry/PA)

A good win could have seen the Gunners move into the top half of the table just a few weeks on from being touted as potential relegation candidates.

Arteta admitted his side did not deserve to add to their recent wins but was pleased with the effort of his players.

“I am disappointed because we wanted to win the game but I think the draw is a fair result,” he said.

“We lacked some freshness and quality in the final third to win this match.

“There were situations where we lacked the last pass or the timing, or the last shot.

“I would like to see a win today and score a few goals, and it didn’t happen.

“There were moments as well that fatigue played a big moment, when we started to give very difficult balls away.

“I cannot fault the spirit, the fight that they put in. They tried to the last minute but it wasn’t enough today.”

Arsenal made two changes for the game from their last league game as Pablo Mari and Kieran Tierney missed out through injury.

Arteta admitted the loss of Tierney, who withdrew hours before kick-off with an unspecified muscle injury that will require a scan on Friday.

Mikel Arteta File Photo
Mikel Arteta had to make a late reshuffle due to Kieran Tierney’s injury (Andy Rain/PA)

Asked about playing without the in-form Scotland full-back, Arteta replied: “It is a challenge when you have created a game plan for the day and a few hours before the game he has to pull out,

“Kieran’s progression in the last few months has been incredible and now it is time for another player to step in.

“We don’t know (how long he will be out for) we will probably know more tomorrow after testing him and how long he is going to be out for, it was a big disappointment to lose him and hopefully he will be back with us shortly.”

The draw means Crystal Palace extend their unbeaten run over Arsenal to five

Roy Hodgson praised his hard-working side
Roy Hodgson praised his hard-working side (Julian Finney/PA)

With Tomkins’ header and another decent chance for Christian Benteke they could have been heading back to west London with all three points – although manager Roy Hodgson agreed with Arteta’s assessment of the game.

“I think we had to work very hard for that point that we got,” he said.

“It took a lot of very disciplined defending, running and energy to get us where we were.

“I think we did have some good chances, especially in the first half and towards the end of the second half, breaking out and a better pass and more composure could have put us in to win the game.”

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