Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has labelled his side’s 2-1 defeat at the hands of Fulham as their worst performance of the season.

The Gunners slipped down to fourth place on the league table after what Arteta described as a tough day at the office.

The Gunners had led through a fifth minute Bukayo Saka strike, but the Cottagers fought back well with goals from Raúl Jiménez and Bobby Decordova-Reid to claim the spoils and move themselves to 13th on the table.

Speaking after the game Arteta told Sky Sports: “It was a really tough day. A sad day.

“Three days ago [the 2-0 defeat by West Ham] we played a game we lost that we completely meant to win it, today was our worst game of the season. The pace, the purpose we have in attack, defensively we were second best, we could not dominate and had issues because of that.

“We didn’t do enough with our possession – not enough purpose speed or threat. We were sloppy with the ball. It wasn’t good enough. We didn’t deserve to win.

“When you have opportunities to go top of league on 31 December and now end up with really bad feeling that is football. The lines are really thin.

“If we play like we played in the other 19 games we will be up there [in the league at the end of the season]. If we play like today, we will be nowhere near. Today was a really difficult day to swallow,” he said.

The manager’s sentiments were echoed by midfielder Declan Rice, who added: “It’s very disappointing. Very tough to take. Not good enough from us again today.

“Obviously the last two results have not been what we have been setting over the course of the season. On the back of the draw at Liverpool we felt we could kick on but two defeats is a tough one to swallow.

“The game against West Ham we had 30 shots, so many touches in the box but couldn’t put it away. Today when go one up we have to have more control. We need to demand more from each other. We had to push on again and go for more. In this league there is no room to mess up. It is a tough one to take.

“We dominated the ball, played good stuff but again not putting the ball in the net. We knew three points would put us back on top. It is two defeats in a row. It is time to reset and we go again,” he said.