Mikel Arteta explains Emile Smith Rowe absence as Arsenal lose at Everton

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Mikel Arteta has revealed why Emile Smith Rowe was absent for Monday night’s 2-1 defeat at Everton.

The Gunners succumbed to a last-gasp strike from Demarai Gray to condemn them to a third defeat in four matches.

Martin Odegaard had put Arsenal ahead on the stroke of half time, but they were pegged by Richarlison with just 10 minutes left to play.

And in the dying embers of the game, the in-form Gray’s long-range effort cannoned in off the post to claim all three points for the Toffees.

Arsenal were missing key man Smith Rowe for the trip to Goodison Park due to a groin problem.

Mikel Arteta explains Emile Smith Rowe absence as Arsenal lose at Everton
© PA

And Arteta admitted that the England international was never in the running to feature, having not even travelled to Merseyside.

He explained after the game: “He was with pain and could not train or travel. We will see how he is.”

Arteta’s disappointment to come away empty handed was clear, but the Spaniard admitted that his side were poor in front of goal and lacking an overall killer edge.

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“Disappointed to lose at the end the way we have done,” he said of the match. “But to be honest in the first half we were very inconsistent with the ball.

“We didn’t have enough penetration or threat. One of the few times we have done it we scored the goal. They struggled to create anything apart from the set-piece that was disallowed. But we had to be much better in the second half.

“When they started to get it and were more aggressive with the press we had bigger spaces to attack them and had chances to exert more control.

Mikel Arteta explains Emile Smith Rowe absence as Arsenal lose at Everton
© Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC Emile Smith Rowe is an injury doubt for Arsenal’s clash with Everton with a tight groin

We had big chances to score with Eddie hitting the post and Martin twice and Auba one on one but we didn’t score. When that happens and you manage the game like we did with the throw-in for the goal you don’t get points in this league.

“They were there for the taking and when that happens you have to grab it and kill it. We didn’t do that today.

“They are young but we have to learn quickly. Against Manchester United we had a similar thing and deserved much more but didn’t get the points.

“Away from home you cannot give anything to the opponent. They are string enough. We had opportunities to score goals and when we didn’t it was not good enough. The performance in general was not good enough.”

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