By Chris Harris
'Lack of creativity' is a charge rarely levelled at Arsenal but Arsène Wenger believes that was to blame for their slip-up at Sunderland on Saturday.
Darren Bent's second-half strike inflicted a third defeat of the Premier League campaign and the 1-0 scoreline was something of a shock. Not because the Black Cats are a poor side - they are one of the top-flight's most improved teams - but because Arsenal hardly ever fail to find the net.
Before the game there was much talk of record goal hauls after Arsenal had plundered 36 in just 11 Premier League games but, at the Stadium of Light, goalkeeper Martin Furlop had little to do once he had denied Tomas Rosicky from close range in the fifth minute.
Wenger was surprised and disappointed by his team's lack of cutting edge and he does not want to see it happen again.
"The mood [in the squad] is disappointment because we didn't expect to lose the game," said the Frenchman.
"I felt that we had some deficiencies that we paid for and we have to make sure that is not repeated. Overall I still believe we didn't produce enough in the final third and that was our strength until now.
"We have to rectify that offensively because we are used to creating chances and we didn't create enough on the day. Defensively I feel we were quite OK because we've analysed well the game and Sunderland had one shot on target in the game.
"But we didn't create enough in the final part of the pitch. When you don't do that you are not dangerous in football. That's where we were highly deficient and that is down as well to the fact that Sunderland defended very well. On the day they did not make any defensive mistakes and when they made one we did not take advantage of it."
Wenger insists there was one other notable mistake at the Stadium of Light at the weekend - Alan Wiley's refusal to award Carlos Vela a penalty when he was brought down in the closing stages.
"I think as well we were a bit unlucky because we had a 100 per cent penalty for us but unfortunately Alan Wiley was in a very strong position and it is very difficult to explain why he turned that down," said the manager.
"I looked at that very well again and he was in a very good position."