Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is respected for his honesty and pulled no punches in his post-match press conference after Arsenal's enthralling 3-3 draw with high-flying West Ham.
The Gunners failed to turn up for the first half-hour and rightfully found themselves 3-0 down after 32 minutes, with Jesse Lingard at the heart of their problems. The subsequent hour was all Arsenal, however, and they can be disappointed that they failed to walk away with all three points despite an Alexandre Lacazette inspired comeback.
Arteta spoke about the stark contrast in the two Arsenal performances in the same game, saying:
"I’m disappointed on one side because of the way we started the game. The first goal we conceded is their quality, they can do that and we accept that. The other two goals, no. The chance that we gave them at the end ourselves, I can't accept it."
Jesse Lingard's opening goal, an inspired strike that flew past Bernd Leno, was followed up two minutes later by some schoolboy defending by the Gunners, switching off from a set-play and allowing Jarrod Bowen to squeeze the ball beneath Leno at his near post, a goal that the German goalkeeper will feel he could have done better with.
West Ham's third, a tap in for Tomas Soucek following a Michael Antonio header, was once again a result of Arsenal's slow and lethargic closing down, which allowed the cross to come into the box.
Despite this, the Arsenal boss was clear that he liked some elements of the performance, noting that:
“We showed a phase that I didn't like at all for some minutes in the first half. Then I think we hit another level with the way we can play, which is probably the best I've seen us play the whole season."
Indeed, even at 3-1 down, he still held hope of a stirring comeback, recalling:
"Even at 3-1, I said we can come back and win the game because I had this belief because they really believe. But only when we do the things that we can do. And at the end of the game I think it's a shame because we should have scored six or seven."
When asked how the Gunners move forward from this, Arteta was again refreshingly honest, noting that:
"I cannot accept that the team has two phases, it only has one phase which is the top level that we can reach consistently every three days for the whole period of the game. If we are able to do that, then we'll become a different team.”
And the Gunners boss was full of praise for his side and the Arsenal identity that is beginning to develop at the club:
"I see them train, I see them behave, the togetherness, the spirt and the atmosphere that they are creating among themselves and the staff."
It is clear that, despite the disappointing result in the end, there was lots to like about the second "phase" of Arsenal's draw at the London Stadium.
If the Gunners can eliminate the truly diabolic first 30 minutes from their game, they will be a force to be reckoned with going forward.