Erik ten Hag was once again at Andre Onana’s defence after the Manchester United goalkeeper’s latest howler cost them dear in the Champions League.
The Gunners took the lead against the Ligue 1 side through Gabriel Jesus but were pegged back by an excellent finish from Adrien Thomasson before Bukayo Saka was forced off with an injury shortly before half-time.
Although Arsenal dominated the contest, it was Lens who claimed all three points after the lively Elye Wahi swept home following a flowing move to secure a 2-1 victory.
Lens’ first-half equaliser came about after some sloppy play from Raya, whose floated pass out to the wing was picked off by Deiver Machado; the left wing-back fed Wahi, who brilliantly flicked the ball to Thomasson to curl the ball home.
Raya was brought into the team to provide better distribution than previous undisputed number one Aaron Ramsdale but Arteta played down the error afterwards and says it is a byproduct of trying to play out from the back.
Asked about his goalkeeper’s distribution error, Arteta told TNT Sports: ‘But this happens. Mistakes are part of football and they will continue to be there somehow.
‘But I think the difference was made in both boxes today. Especially in the Champions League, you don’t generate 10 clear-cut chances in the Champions League. When you get there you have to put the ball in the back of the net. And we have to defend our box much better than we have done.’
Asked in his post-match press conference if it was disappointing to see a distribution error from Raya given that he was brought in as an upgrade on Ramsdale with his feet, Arteta replied bluntly: ‘No.’
On how frustrating his side’s tendency to commit individual errors has been this season, Arteta continued: ‘Yeah we want to stop everything, obviously, and produce big possibilities for the team to win the game.
‘But they [mistakes] are part of it and errors happen in football constantly, every three or four seconds there is an error whether it is yours or the opponent.
‘We have to adapt to that. I think today we had most control, especially after the first goal, and then when we were dominating we had two big chances to score before them.