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'We just didn't start the way we wanted'

Arsene Wenger felt his side were unlucky to be beaten by Watford on Tuesday night after a poor first-half showing at Emirates Stadium.

He faced the media after the game, and this is what he had to say:

on not being able to get going in the first half…It was not good in the first half, especially in the first 20 minutes. We were beaten in the duels, they were sharper than us and on top of that we were a bit unlucky because I felt we were unlucky to concede a free-kick and then it was deflected too. After that we responded. We didn’t start the way we wanted, in the second half it was all us, and we were unlucky to lose the game as well. We did not deserve to lose this game.

on whether Arsenal did enough to score in the last 20 minutes…In that period we lost a bit of patience in our build up and exaggerated the individual game a little bit. Every time we were passing the ball quickly, we created dangerous situations. I felt we, as individuals, felt like we wanted to be the saviour a little bit too much. On top of that, they gained time intelligently. It’s the usual thing that you see when a team tries to protect a result, they interrupt the flow of the game.

on Gabriel’s performance at right back…We knew that we had to be strong in the air with their direct challenges. Hector Bellerin has just come back from injury and is not completely, in my opinion, recovered. We knew that their main danger was from set-pieces and every time Gabriel has played recently, he has done extremely well in this position. I don’t think he was at fault for any of the goals. You have to look somewhere else.

on whether Watford could have scored more goals in the first half…I didn’t see the other two chances they could have scored. You must have seen that better than me, so you can explain it to me.

on Petr Cech saving two efforts…He cannot let every shot in! We hit the bar and they made fantastic saves thanks to Gomes as well. If you look at the chances, we are unlucky to lose the game.

on leaving Theo out after scoring a hat-trick at Southampton…He played in the second half. If you look well at his history, he has not played for five and a half weeks. He was stiff still yesterday. I kept him out of training yesterday. We have three games this week. We know well, do not think we are completely stupid in the way we make decisions. I think it was a good, normal decision.