Mikel Arteta plays down significance of Arsenal's opening pre-season defeat

Jamie Spencer
Mikel Arteta was disappointed to see Arsenal lose but insists it is still very early
Mikel Arteta was disappointed to see Arsenal lose but insists it is still very early / Steve Welsh/Getty Images

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has played down the significance of the Gunners losing 2-1 to Scottish side Hibernian in their opening pre-season friendly of the summer, although equally admitted that it is always disappointing to lose any game.

Arsenal went 2-0 down in Edinburgh after conceding a goal in each half. Nicolas Pepe missed a penalty with just under 10 minutes left, before Emile Smith Rowe eventually pulled one back.

It was wasn’t a full strength Gunners side, featuring teenage goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo and emerging centre-back Harry Clarke, with others like Omar Rekik, Jack Henry-Francis and Karl Hein appearing from the bench in the second half.

But there were still enough senior names like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Willian to avoid defeat, although Arteta was keen to point out the squad has only trained a handful of times.

“I'm always disappointed when we lose a football match but it is the first game, we played with many kids and we only had four training sessions,” the explained, via

“We've trained really hard and you could see that the players were a little bit leggy. I think we conceded the first goal, an accident, and the second goal was clearly offside.

“We created many, many chances but we didn't score. That's what pre-season is for, to take the things that we haven't done well into a training session and then improve.

“There's no excuse because we want to come here and win the match. They worked really hard, the boys worked really hard and you could see that some of them were not in the best condition, but we're still very early in pre-season."

Hibernian v Arsenal - Pre-Season Friendly
Emile Smith Rowe scored for Arsenal / Steve Welsh/Getty Images

He added, “It was great to see some of the young lads making their debuts.”

Arsenal now remain in Scotland for their next pre-season game, a trip to Glasgow to face Steven Gerrard’s Rangers - a club Arteta also played for early in his own career. After that, the Gunners head to Florida for two more games, before two final friendlies in August against Chelsea (home) and Tottenham (away) as part of The Mind Series.

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