Arsene Wenger slammed his players’ weak mentality after Arsenal threw away a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 with Anderlecht in the Champions League, with former Pompey star Anthony Vanden Borre scoring twice for the Belgian side.
The Gunners led 2-0 at half-time thanks to Mikel Arteta’s penalty and Alexis Sanchez’s stunning volley before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looked to have sealed the win with a third before the hour.
There was late drama, however, as Vanden Borre scored twice - the second another spot-kick - and Aleksandar Mitrovic headed in a 90th-minute equaliser to snatch a dramatic point for the Belgians.
“Maybe we underestimated them subconsciously and we got punished - in the Champions League you need to be at the right mental level and we got punished because we were not,” Wenger said.
“You have to give them credit - they tried until the end.
“We had a poor defensive performance from the first minute to the 90th today.
“We were also punished because of bad luck - the first goal was clearly offside - but defensively our performance was not good enough. We thought the job was done.”
Arsenal’s misery was compounded by the sight of Arteta hobbling off in the second half with what Wenger revealed is a hamstring injury.
The Gunners remain in a strong position to qualify from Group D but their chances of finishing top of the pool are slim with Dortmund now five points clear.
Vanden Borre played 19 times for Pompey during a loan spell in 2009.
He is remembered as the player who TV pundit Chris Kamara failed to realise had been sent off in a live update from Fratton Park. Watch the classic clip here