Arsenal "did not deserve to lose" against Watford tonight despite a dismal first-half performance at the Emirates Stadium, according to manager Arsene Wenger.

Wenger was in bullish mood in his post-match press conference following the shock defeat which all but ends the Gunners' already slim title hopes, and claimed they were short changed in their second home defeat of the campaign.

"We were unfortunate to lose the game, we didn’t deserve to lose," he said during a prickly exchange after the game. "I’m very frustrated we did not win the game.

"We played at home, and had a great opportunity – but to have a start like we did was very frustrating. We have to learn from it.

"It was not good in the first half, especially in the first 20 minutes. We were beaten in the duels, they were sharper than us and we were a bit unlucky.

"We were unlucky the free-kick was given and it was a deflected shot, but after the first 20 minutes we responded.

"Overall, I think we didn’t start the way we wanted but in the second half it was all us."

Despite the ease with which the Hornets controlled the first 45 minutes, during which Arsenal failed to register a meaningful shot on Heurelho Gomes' goal, Wenger did not feel his personal planning had negated the visitors' strengths.

"We were warned that Watford would come and make it very physical, and I have no basic regret looking at the preparation in the way we prepared for the game," he said. "If subconsciously we thought if we turn up and it will all work, I don’t know.

"We have to analyse why we didn’t start well, and there are some situations which weren’t completely clear and we need to analyse that well."