Mikel Arteta says that even in the darkest times this season, the players have been fully behind Arsene Wenger. Cries of ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ rang around the stadium when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was replaced by Andrei Arshavin during the Manchester United game, but the Spaniard never had any doubts about the boss or his position at the club.
Again, from the interview with Sport Magazine’s Sarah Shephard , Arteta said, “Arsene knows that he has our support, and we know that he’s always been behind and protecting the players – it’s a mutual concept. There’s never been a moment like ‘what’s going to happen with him?’ or whatever. Since I came here I know who is the boss, I know who runs the club; it’s very clear.”
In recent weeks the Gunners have overhauled their North London rivals, T*ttenham, who at one point had a 10 point lead in the table, leading many to loudly proclaim that the fabled ‘balance of power’ had well and truly shifted.
Arteta believes that singular focus has brought the team to its current position, three points ahead of the filthy dirty scummers.
“We got to a point when we had to say: ‘Listen, we have to go game by game because they are too far from us at the moment to be thinking we can finish third, fourth or even fifth.
“I think we were seventeenth in the table the first game I played against Swansea, so there was a long way to go but we’ve done it and everyone has put tremendous effort and belief into keeping going because, at one point, I was thinking the season was over.
“Now we just try to finish as high as we can. There is nothing else to play for. We’re disappointed that we dropped out of the Champions League and the cup against Sunderland, but we’re third now – and we have to try and maintain that because it takes you directly to the Champions League.”
And with the former Everton man now a key part of this Arsenal team, his drive to ensure that the move he made last summer would be the step up everyone thought will be crucial to cementing that third place position.
You can read the full interview in Sport Magazine