LONDON • Unai Emery insisted Arsenal "did not deserve to lose" 1-0 at Sheffield United on Monday, but their latest flop has intensified doubts about their ability to secure a top-four place this season.
The Gunners would have vaulted to third in the Premier League with a win at Bramall Lane, but they never looked worthy of that perch, with Lys Mousset marking his first top-flight start for the hosts with the winner.
The visitors have only eight victories from their past 24 league games on the road, keeping just two clean sheets since Emery took over last season. It was no different in Sheffield, where they have now failed to win in four attempts.
But despite Chris Wilder's men being worthy winners on the night, showing why they have leaked the joint-fewest goals in the top flight (seven) with Liverpool, Emery was adamant that his players "deserved more".
Criticising the failure to award a spot kick for a foul on Sokratis Papastathopoulos, the Arsenal boss said: "We can speak about two key moments, one is the goal (by Mousset) and the other is a clear penalty.
"With VAR (video assistant referee), the foul should have been reviewed, but we have to accept it. We had more chances than them. If we scored one goal, then we could have controlled better."
Asked if Arsenal had a mental block away from home, the Spaniard also claimed he "prepared the same to win".
But pundits were not buying his excuses that the team had gone toe-to-toe with the Blades and it was more proof that Arsenal remain a soft touch, especially on the road.
Patrice Evra, who infamously labelled clashes with the Gunners as "men against children" during his playing days at Manchester United, again scathingly compared Emery's players to "babies".
Clean sheets Arsenal have recorded in their away league games since Unai Emery took over as the Gunners' manager last season.
He told Sky Sports: "I'm not surprised about Arsenal, I'm not being disrespectful when I say that. They look pretty but they don't look like a winning team.
"I used to call them my babies 10 years ago when I played against them, I still look at them like they are babies and that's the truth."
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher also felt that Emery had taken Arsenal backwards, saying: "I don't see anything different from when Arsene Wenger was there at the end.
"In fact, at times it actually looks worse. It's still early in his second season, but we're getting to that stage near Christmas where you think, 'Is Emery the right man to take Arsenal into his third season?'
"That's how it is with Arsenal supporters and within the club. I just expected something different. We're seeing the same stuff."