Mikel Arteta defends David Raya after errors in Arsenal’s win, but stresses need for improved team defense

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Mikel Arteta inexplicably claimed David Raya was not at fault for two second-half Luton goals which gave Arsenal an almighty scare until Declan Rice’s last-gasp winner.

With the Gunners 2-1 up, Raya flapped at Alfie Doughty’s corner, allowing Elijah Adebayo to score.

And then eight minutes later, Ross Barkley had his strike go straight through the goalkeeper to put Luton 3-2 ahead.

But Arteta refused to condemn his No1 goalkeeper for the two errors.

He said: ‘We have to defend better the situations as a team. There are certain things leading to the goals.

Mikel Arteta claimed David Raya was not at fault for two Luton goals in Arsenal’s 4-3 win

Raya made two huge blunders but Arteta insisted his side 'must defend better as a team'

Raya made two huge blunders but Arteta insisted his side ‘must defend better as a team’

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‘And it is not about blaming him (Raya), we have never done it and we’re not going to do it now. It is about how the team reacts to that because it’s going to happen and I love that response.

‘I think we can defend much better the goals, that’s for sure.’

Arteta will not be on the touchline for this Saturday’s match against Aston Villa after picking up a third yellow card for celebrating Rice’s goal.

He added: ‘Yeah (it was worth it), I could not be sitting on my seat, unfortunately. So I left there, I had no spatial awareness at all. It was just pure emotion. So if that’s a yellow, OK it’s a yellow.’

The Spaniard flapped at a cross which allowed Elijah Adebayo to level the scores at 2-2

The Spaniard flapped at a cross which allowed Elijah Adebayo to level the scores at 2-2

He then let Ross Barkley's shot squirm under his body, which left the Gunners 3-2 down

He then let Ross Barkley’s shot squirm under his body, which left the Gunners 3-2 down

Luton manager Rob Edwards was left dejected but believes that his team can achieve ‘something special’.

He said: ‘Immeasurably proud of the lads but disappointed (with the loss) and really flat. I don’t think that has ever happened to me, conceding that late to lose a game.

‘For a newly-promoted team to be fighting like we are and to show that quality to get back in the game and get ahead, but ultimately we scored three goals and got nothing from it, so we have to keep improving.

‘We have a belief in this group, I believe in this group and with the spirit and fight we are showing we hope we can achieve something special.’

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