A tumultuous Premier League campaign will finish on Sunday with Arsenal finishing outside of the European qualification places for 25 years.

Last night’s 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa ended any slim chance of Europa League football next season by virtue of our final league position, although the Gunners can still make it by beating Chelsea in the FA Cup final on August 1st.

Mikel Arteta, the club’s third manager of the season, spoke frankly afterwards, about where we are, what we need to do to sort things out, and how it’s simply not acceptable for Arsenal to finish outside the top 6 at a bare minimum.

“At the end of the day, the league table doesn’t lie and we know the gap that we have to fill in,” he said.

“It has to hurt and we have to suffer because it is not good enough for this football club.

“That’s why we have to put it right, we have a challenge that is really big and we are facing it and we are really excited about what we have ahead of us.

“We need to transmit this enthusiasm and passion because they’re going to be some ups and down, unfortunately.

“Today is a down but sometimes it is good to see the reality and then go again and move on and improve.”

The lack of a creative spark was obvious – as outlined in today’s Arseblog – but it’s something the manager feels can be improved.

Asked how, he said, “Training, time and understanding the spaces. Where they are, how we can provoke them, where we need the bodies and the areas that we have to attack.

“And then a little bit in the first half I felt that we didn’t have the urgency with the ball. In the second half it was much better, we controlled the transitions much better as well, but it wasn’t enough.”

The continued absence of Mesut Ozil was another line of questioning, but Arteta was more keen to focus on the collective than one individual.

“We played other games as well [without Ozil] and the answer is not just a player, it is a collective of patterns that have to happen,” he insisted.

“We did really well in certain ways but the end product of the final ball wasn’t good enough and the last chance that we had hit the post. But this is football.”

Arsenal’s final league game of the season sees us host Watford at the Emirates, and it will feel good to draw a line under this campaign, and hopefully we can start to see real improvement next time around after some important transfer work has been done.

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Hail Gus!

Grey hair watch – how long before Mikel is snapped up by Just For Men?

Fabregooner

i fear this is our best chance of getting one over Mourinho at the moment

High gooner

Freddie has gone missing completely since Mikels arrival…

Nacho de Montreal is tasty

The last time I heard of him, Arteta wanted him to watch the game from the stand to have a wholistic view of the game and give comments. That was the second week after Arteta came in. If I were him, I would leave and take a championship team.

Managanese

People fail to realize that against City and Liverpool we didn’t have much of the ball and we basically defended for large stretches in the game. Against Tottenham we had the ball and did nothing worthwhile with it. Same thing happened against Aston Villa yesterday. The team is seriously lacking creativity in the middle. We can’t play smash and grab football every time. The team lacks initiative. I was shocked by the quality of our corners from Ceballos and the quality of Cedric’s crosses yesterday. The villa game was a good reality check for Arteta and his players. We are… Read more »

Naija Gunner

Very well said. Arsenal still doesnt know what to do with ball when they have possession. Yesterday’s game was so reminiscent of the the frustration we endured during the final days of Emery’s reign. Knocking the ball back and forth in the middle of the park without any real purpose is just not good enough.

N10

How can anyone downvote this

Tired-of-your-shit gooner

Because of the general condescending and self-aggrandizing tone of the comment? Or the fact that we have all seen and even read the many pieces detailing exactly this issue all across this site?

Twatsloch

“A tumultuous Premier League campaign will finish on Sunday with Arsenal finishing outside of the European qualification places for 25 years.”

Assuming there’s a “the first time in” missing but you may as well leave it as it is. It feels like this is where we’re heading.

Qwaliteee

This season, aside from the FA Cup campaign, has been Emery’s, not Arteta’s. Victory in the Cup Final would be a fitting end and light at the end of what, at times, has felt like a very long tunnel indeed.

Johnny 4 Hats

I feel really sorry for a great number of the arsenal fans on here because they live the previous result so viscerally without having any wider reaching context. The fact we lucked a win against Liverpool and then played out of our skin against City was for many, I fear, the start of an upward trajectory which would lead to untold glory. My mention that some of these players still really needed to leave the club was met with furious thumbing down post City. We really need to find a way not to allow the last ninety minutes to paint… Read more »

AlexNuggz

Believe in the process, we are on the up and have turned a corner, there will be highs and lows. We need to be patient and give time to allow Arteta to instil his playing style and philosophy on the playing staff and the club as a whole. He needs the backing from the owners and board to get the players he wants, he needs time to shift out some of the players who are surplus to requirements, he needs to be given freedom to breathe life into and spark the embers of this fantastic football institution.

Johnny 4 Hats

I endorse this comment fully! 🌟👍🌟

Moses

Exactly my view.
The Jurgen Klopp we are talking about today started roughly, but see where he is with Liverpool today.
Patience is needed with Mikel Arteta to instill his philosophy into this team.

Qwaliteee

Another great post, well said. Grounded progress is the way forward. The entire club needs to ‘do a Xhaka.’

djourou's nutmeg

it’s the same every season. we get a little unbeaten run or defeat one of the big 6 sides and suddenly we’re very promising, the chemistry is working, we could reach champions league and next season will be awesome. then we lose against southampton and tie against fulham with some defender screwing up and everyone should be sold, kroenke out, boo xhaka. it’s quite dumb and it makes debates boring. if anyone was surprised that we lost today then they clearly haven’t watched any of the last 10 seasons.

Daveo

Fact is Arteta has instilled a very important hard working mentality in the team, and that has shown against City and Puddles. We worked hard and kept shape, but we didn’t have possession and worked on the counter and created through high press. Whenever we are tasked with running the game we are found inept in midfield. They work hard, but lack talent, pacce, drive and creativity. We have a mid-to-lower table midfield that can battle defensively against the big teams off the ball, but struggles on it to create in a slower paced game and we are weak ourselves… Read more »

N10

upvote just for “Puddles”

Qwaliteee

Great post, well said. We’re not that bad. It’s just that we’re not that good. Yet…….😉

Danno5

We are a turd that Arteta can only polish so many times.

Rohan

Speak for yourself!

Jht

Look at the roles and passing chart from Villa and Spurs games, it does not lie either. We need directness, precision, willingness to ahoot and score. This kind of possession bulls*it was tradermark of Wrngers team where Arteta was the biggest sidepasser ever. I am not in for seeing sideways passing, but rather lethal obsession for shooting and scoring.

Daveo

Personnel. Personnel. Personnel. Wenger couldn’t drive through the middle of the pitch with this team. Wenger lost his drive, directness and precision during his last couple of season too (especially the last). Also opposition has become more accustomed to that style of play. Most premier league teams are really strong tactically, and have very fit and disciplined players. They are built to control big teams that dominate possession. City, one of the most ball-dominant teams in the world right now, have lost 9 games this season. Liverpool aren’t as possession dominate as city, but are also play at a higher… Read more »

I S

Just remember where Chelsea up the following season after finishing 10th. Silver lining and al..

David C

Which of Liverpool, City, Chelsea, or Man U do we expect to finish ahead of next season for fourth place? Sorry, I can’t see it happening especially if Chelsea and Man U change their keepers. We’re going to be fighting for Europa with Spuds, Leicester, and Evertons of the league. More sadness ahead I’m afraid. We’re a cup team now so we might squeak into Europe winning the FA Cup this year, probably our best hope going forward as well. We’re more likely to win Europa to get into CL in the next couple of years than by finishing fourth.… Read more »

John C

Realistically none of them, but let’s be honest which of our players are top 4 quality? In my opinion the list is as follows: Goalkeepers: Both Leno and Martinez look like they could be, so we’ve started well Defenders: Tierney looks good enough but the rest not so sure, possibly one of our centre backs could partner a van Dijk type but as a pair it’s not going to happen. Bellerin’s gone backwards Midfield: Same as our centre backs, they all could possibly partner to real top quality player but otherwise they’re not good enough. Attack: Auba, Lacazette and Pepe… Read more »

jamie t

auba tierny leno. the rest not even close

Daveo

Saka

YaGunnersYa

I agree with this analysis. Our second choice keeper (whether it be Leno or Martinez) looks to be better than de Gea and Kepa. Alisson and Ederson are world class (perhaps only Oblak and ter Stegen are better). Tierney is on the same level as Robertson and is top 4 quality. I don’t think we can expect Saliba to be in that bracket in his first season in the PL. I’ve been less critical about Bellerin as he’s spent a lot of time recovering from a serious injury, but he has been overtaken by the likes of Alexander-Arnold and really… Read more »

Cowadunga

As much as I am intrigued by Arteta’s man management and how often he says the right things, I think the shine is going to wear off Arteta too, and then we’re going to have more realistic expectations of him. He’s already showing some weaknesses tactically, like playing Pepe without a wing back supporting him. Pepe becomes soooooo predictable when he doesn’t get support from behind, because he always wants to cut inside, and when he doesn’t he has to turn around to cross in with his left foot. Hopefully Arteta will learn quickly from his mistakes, but I think… Read more »

Jfmgunner

Meanwhile Havertz is deep into negotiations with Chelsea, in a 70 mil deal, according to sky. Frustrating that exactly the type of creative spark we need is going to a rival.

Qwaliteee

I honestly believe that last night’s performance had as much to do with mental fatigue as physical fatigue – and of course, an Ozil sized gap of creativity in the midfield. After three very impressive results against tidy opponents, this team still needs to find a believe in itself that will manifest into regular good performances where results will follow. In trying to take a positive, at least it was yet another timely reminder that we are far from being the finished product – although I realise that I probably leaving myself to more accusations of being a wannabe soothsayer… Read more »

YaGunnersYa

I have done some analysis on what the hypothetical league table would look like since Arteta’s first day in charge and noted the following: *Arsenal would be 8th in the league table, level on points with Burnley and Everton but ahead of Sheffield United and Leicester *Our goal difference of +10 would be the 4th best after Man City, Man Utd and Liverpool Conclusions: *Arteta is a good fit for our team. Above all the team’s attitude is markedly better, he has reunited our fan base and he speaks with belief about the vision for the club while being realistic… Read more »

Santori

Its not good enough and people should also stop entirely letting Arteta off the hook bc “Its not his team” BC on the flip side, with the same team (or worse), Unai Emery was punching no worse. So exactly where are the concrete improvements? Too many peopl guilty of wanting to see what they want to. They should stop lying to themselves. In Arteta’s defense, at least he knows he needs to be doing better regardless of work that needs to be done in market. We had opportunity to stay close or even overtake Spurs into 6th or 7th but… Read more »