Thomas Tuchel admitted that he empathised with a Chelsea supporter who confronted César Azpilicueta after his side stumbled to a 4-2 defeat to Arsenal at Stamford Bridge.
Tempers were frayed after Chelsea’s third successive home defeat and Azpilicueta appeared to give as good as he got when he clashed with an angry fan. “I was not part of it, I saw it, but, honestly, I can also understand the fan,” Tuchel said. “It was a totally wild and open game in the first half, already at 2-2 after we came back twice.
“We had a good start but again gave the first goal away, which is impossible to do these things in consecutive matches. But we’re doing it. We came back twice and we scored another two in the second half, unfortunately for the wrong side. It’s a level of mistakes, the number of mistakes in consecutive games here at home, it’s impossible at this kind of level. You don’t see this. It’s simply impossible, but we’re doing this at the moment and you cannot win football games like this.”
Chelsea, who remain third, have conceded 11 goals in their last three home games. They could not handle Arsenal, who breathed life into their top-four challenge thanks to two goals from Eddie Nketiah, a fine strike from Emile Smith Rowe and a penalty from Bukayo Saka.
Arsenal had lost their previous three games but victory over Chelsea moved them level on points with Tottenham with six games left. “I said to the players, if you want to be playing Champions League football, you have to go these stadiums and beat the top teams,” Mikel Arteta said.
“So they have done it and I’m really proud of them, but I’m more proud of how we’ve reacted as a group in the past weeks. That gives me more energy to be here.”
Arteta praised Saka for scoring his first penalty since missing the decisive one during England’s defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 final.
“When that happened to Bukayo that happened for a reason, and he has come back so strongly since,” Arsenal’s manager said. “But for him to have the courage to say ‘I’m going to take it again’, it must have been in the back of his mind. It was strong for him to say ‘I’m going to do it’.”