Arteta: It’s been a demanding week

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Mikel Arteta says the emotional and physical fatigue of the last week took a toll on Arsenal as relegation-threatened Aston Villa sealed a 1-0 win at Villa Park.

The Gunners dominated possession for large swathes of the match but failed to muster a single shot on goal before or after Trezeguet gave the home side the lead with a smart finish from a corner midway through the first half.

While defeat condemns us to our worst league finish in 25 years, means we can’t finish above Sp*rs and leaves our chances of qualifying for Europe wholly dependent on beating Chelsea in the FA Cup final, the boss was in a relatively forgiving mood.

Here’s what he had to say when he faced the Sky Sports cameras…

On the performance…

I think they [my players] gave absolutely everything, you could see how aggressive they were in every duel, every time we lost the ball in our high press. We might like a bit of freshness. You could see in the final third against a very low block where we dominated the game, we struggled a little bit to get quality and creativity. It’s something we have to improve as a team. When you give another set piece away, it makes things difficult. We congratulate Villa, they were under a lot of pressure as well and they managed to win the game.

On missing a threat…

We were in some really good positions but we didn’t deliver the right ball. We had the right numbers in the right positions but we lacked that. It can be fatigue. Emotionally and physically, it’s been a very demanding week but at least I saw a team that tried to win, fought until the end and was trying its best. We have a lot of things to improve.

On where Arsenal are compared to rivals…

I’m not disappointed with the attitude at all. I know where we are in certain moments and in certain areas of the pitch and the things we need to improve more. We will get that but we need more time.

On Arsenal finishing 8th at best…

It tells you that the gap doesn’t lie. The gap with the top teams in the country [is big] and we have to make that gap smaller and smaller. And relaly quickly.

On a plane banner reading ‘Back Arteta. Kroenke Out’…*

The Kroenkes and the board and the sporting directors and everybody, I have full backing. What we don’t know is a lot of things we have to wait a little bit of time to be there. But backing, support, 100 per cent [I have it]. Absolutely [the fans must stick with us], they have to believe me, because believe me I would not say that.

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*We’re not entirely sure Arteta understood this line of questioning. Perhaps he thought the banner suggested that he did not enjoy the support of the Kroenkes? Which he clearly has. Whether he gets financial backing is a different matter.

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Marco

Mr manager please never play Nketiah wide right ever again.Put these boys in their rightful position and you might get a tune out of them.

Spanish Gooner

Honestly I would love it if, for just one day in the history of the Arsenal football club, we played 11 players in their preferred positions and then kicked a ball around for 90 minutes to see what would happen

djourou's nutmeg

the club’s got a self sustaining model ever since wenger came in, we’ve always criticized other clubs for buying success and took proud in building our own, yet we keep hating kroenke and asking for him to put more money in (as if we didn’t just spend 80M on pepe last summer only for us to have the worst season in years). i really feel some of us support a different arsenal at times…

Ross

I agree. Only the Manchester clubs have a higher net spend in the last 5 years. Managers have been backed. Poor decision making is why we are in this hole. We’ve overpaid for average players, overpaid wages and not protected player values by letting contracts run down

The Arsenal

Makes you wonder how some of these guys get the positions they do.

NW5Gooner

So… ‘Sanllehi Out’ on the next plane?

I’ll chip in a fiver to get us started.

db10s

I’ve never really called for Kroenke to top up our cash in the past. However since the mismanagement of our assets, recruitment and covid has left us in a very bad place. I feel Kroenke has to step in now and take good care of this club. A cash injection to get us back on the right track. I was reading a breakdown of our finances last night and from the breakdown, the educated guess is that we have only 40+ mil in our reserves and 30 mil can’t be touch due to loan repayments. This is compared to 175mil… Read more »

Santori

Proof is in the pudding. We’ve been here before, the occasional big wins even under Wenger and Unai. We don’t have the consistency and current improvements have not translated to concrete ones in league position. I still see very ponderous build up and this six yard box passing follies worry me. Its a disaster waiting to happen at best, worse it slows us down lets the other team retain shape and choke off passing lanes. Overall, we have shed technical ability as well as the rest of the league has caught up. Plus now we are reliant on younger players… Read more »

Nacho de Montreal is tasty

At least our computer programer fans always saying if…then…while…we may qualify for Europa League through the league will come down to earth.

loose_cannon

arsenal.exe has stopped working…

Twatsloch

Of all the games to be shit why did we pick this one?

God is a Gooner

Because we want deeney’s saggy bunch of cohones to go down.
As a side what a horrid little club Watford have become, sacking Pearson after he dragged them back from the dead to the brink of safety. They will not get a better coach in the championship. Their owners’ lack of respect is disgusting. Fuck off and don’t come back.

Twatsloch

There is that I guess. I’d rather see Brighton go down after their last display against us but since that’s off the cards I’ll take Watford. Beggars can’t be choosers.

Spanish Gooner

Fuck it, we may end up being worse than Burnley and Sheffield United, but if we beat Chelsea we’ll have outperformed every Spurs season since 1991. Let’s go!

Abhi

And the spuds hopefully finish under wolves, so when we win the cup, we’ll have dumped them out if Europe too!

BillyKrystal

One of those Men In Black mind eraser thingys would be very handy right now.

Mentalista

Rest everyone against Watford.

It’s a useless game for us, don’t care if it’s unfair to other relegation teams.

James Gunner

Arsenal must know how to score against teams which pack the defence and hit on the break like AV. I am overly concerned that there were no shots on goal. More worrying is that Grealish was left alone and allowed to run at the gunner defence.. Chelsea are a better attacking side and fear for the defence . Their fast paced attacking prowess plus forward interchanging positions could rip the defence to pieces. MC’s attack was too predictable with passing . Chelseaa more direct attacking could pose problems. Of course in a one off final,anything can happen.Maybe Arteta will have… Read more »

Sbdjubor1306

Anyone thinking we will beat Chelsea in the FA cup to book passage into Europe must not have been around during Unai Emery’s first season in charge. Chelsea will beat us. Arsenal as a club, management and players, has a mentality problem. That’s I refrained from lavishing praises on them for defeating both Liverpool and City. Quite frankly, we’re a mid-table team: top four is out of our range, we’re now competing with the likes of Sheffield Utd. Leceister, Everton etc. This rot started in 2006, when Wenger erroneously, adopted a failed youth over experience project and focused on winning… Read more »

David C

Buy Jack Grealish. If Pepe is worth 70 million then Grealish is worth 170. That’s a quote from Tim flipping Sherwood and I can’t argue with it.

PeteyB

Just like last year when letting Zaha score against us cost us the champions league money and any chance of signing him, losing to Villa may keep them in the EPL, us out of Europe, and push Grealish out of our price range.

Eddie Hoyte

It was obvious to even any blînd man that fatigue took its toll on the players, which is why Arteta had to rotate in the first place. This squad lacks depth, and I’m glad Arteta acknowledges we still have a lot of gap to cover. While the loss might hurt, bear in mind these guys earned our respect last week impressively. So losing this one, I choose not to be too harsh on them. This game is just exactly what happened against City. Aston Villa only did what we did. Aston Vila wanted it more, they gave everything, their sweat… Read more »

Naked Cygan

Our season rides on the FA Cup final now. Let’s just hope we get the Arsenal team that gives a shit about football on Aug 1st, and not the wishywashy team we got today. This is so frustrating having a team that you know is good, and can play good, but they just switch off some games and switch back on. ZERO CONSISTENCY!!!!!

Eddie Hoyte

It was obvious to even any blînd man that fatigue took its toll on the players, which is why Arteta had to rotate in the first place. This squad lacks depth, and I’m glad Arteta acknowledges we still have a lot of gap to cover. While the loss might hurt, bear in mind these guys earned our respect last week impressively. So losing this one, I choose not to be too harsh on them. This game is just exactly what happened against City. Aston Villa only did what we did. Aston Vila wanted it more, they gave everything, their sweat… Read more »

Newxieland

Relax people… all part of Arteta’s master plan to show off his massive cojones to Watford next week and banish them from the PL.

James Gunner

Arsenal were in a way lucky to beat Pool.MC had many shots at goal but were blocked by a massed defence.Same with Arsenal against AV. How do you solve a problem when teams park the bus. For the CF,Chelsea will go direct and run at defenders.They will swarm forward in numbers and shoot from outfield which could ricochet off a defender and into goal. Arsenal cant score from corner kicks. There is a problem here which needs urgent solution. Btw,with the cf looming, players could be injured in a 50/50 tussle.Watford wont roll over and will go into every tackle… Read more »

Charles MMM

Typical Arsenal to win matches that many anticipate them to lose and to loose the ones that they are expected to win. Though there huge works for Arteta to do in this team, but there many signs and positive developments to be hugely optimistic moving forward. Please guys, we know there are many tired legs in the team, but excise mental strength by winning the FA cup on 1st August for you, fans and the club. Please please please!

T.A.

I love Arteta and believe we should back him to the hilt. But I really wish he wouldn’t keep saying that the players “gave everything” or that their “attitude” was great. They were absolutely horrible against Villa. No desire, always passing backward, very little movement. They looked like they didn’t care. Are they really so fragile that a bit of George Graham-style (or dare I say it, Ferggie hairdryer-style) criticism wouldn’t shake them out of their periodic slumber?

RockyRog58

Tough weeks ? Demanding times ? So apart from a limited Xhaka and the excellent Tierney who the hell takes responsibility on the pitch to drive players on around them ? There Is no point in faffing around this Where is the hunger ? Where is the anger at losing a match a tackle or header ? Which one of this lot would you choose to go to war for you ? None in my eyes despite the obvious good efforts v City and Liverpool. No one is demanding more not one is screaming at a team mate for more… Read more »