David Moyes felt his side were just starting to establish themselves when Robin van Persie’s wondergoal sentenced them to defeat at the Emirates Stadium.
The Blues rode their luck in the first half and were forced to make many panicky clearances and also rely on keeper Tim Howard to come to the rescue.
But in a second half where they kept the ball a lot better, they were enjoying their best spell of the game when Van Persie provided a moment of magic.
Moyes said: “We were very fortunate to go in level at half time but when they scored the goal we were slightly in the ascendency and beginning to make it as tough as we could for them.
“The players did well and they kept at it. We got much better and stronger in the second half than we had been in the first.”
In general the Blues defended with a really high line and that meant taking risks against a pacy Gunners side.
But Moyes said: “The high line wasn’t necessarily the plan but we wanted to limit Arsenal and that means midfielders have to go and get close to Arsenal’s midfielders. If you do that then the back four have to move up too. We wanted to disrupt Arsenal’s passing and win the ball early.
“If we came and parked the bus you would be saying why did we not have a go, well we did, and if you do that you are always going to give Arsenal some opportunities.
“We tried to get at them,” he added. “I thought we got into some great positions to make opportunities, great positions to deliver crosses and we either never delivered them or never completed the move.
“There were good positions for us to make more chances than we did. I thought we had one or two good opportunities – we just couldn’t turn them into goals.
“Arsenal played well and they had chances in the first half. It was always going to be tough but the boys stuck at it and I can’t fault them for that.”