Unai Emery claimed Nicolas Pepe’s miss from six yards was a key moment as Arsenal’s run of eight games unbeaten in all competitions came to an end at Sheffield United.
Lys Mousset’s goal at Bramall Lane gave the Blades a 1-0 win as Arsenal’s poor run against the Blades continued, having never won against them in four Premier League attempts.
Pepe has endured a frustrating start to his career in England having moved from Lille for £72million in the summer with the forward yet to score from open play for the Gunners.
The defeat means Arsenal miss an opportunity to go third in the league and Emery believes Pepe’s miss is part of a process with improvement and gaining confidence.
"The chance for us, for Pepe, was the key," he told reporters.
"Because if they score the first goal, defensively they’re very strong.
"Pepe is improving I think, but his way with us is little-by-little getting better, and the next step is to score.
"Tonight for example, the best chance is one he is usually going to score, but he didn’t take it with efficiency. He is improving and taking confidence, but it is one process."