Arsenal face Chelsea in the FA Cup final next weekend, and should we end this season with a trophy – and European football for the next one – it would be genuine cause for celebration.

However, it’s not enough for Mikel Arteta to classify the campaign as a good one, saying that the final league position is insufficient for that.

The demanding nature of the Arsenal boss, and the expectations he has for the club, mean he wants more from his team before he can start to be satisfied – even if he’d have the first trophy of his managerial career under his belt.

“No,” said Arteta categorically when asked if a cup triumph and 8th would be considered good season.

“For me, this club deserves the best and you have to be fighting for every title. Obviously after everything that happened, if we are able to win the final and qualify for Europe, we can say that it’s OK.

“But it’s not the level for this football club.”

The boss spoke about the ‘beautiful challenge’ that lies ahead, as he attempts to restore Arsenal to a team which is competitive at the highest level. You might substitute the word ‘beautiful’ with ‘difficult’ or ‘tough’ or ‘complicated’ or ‘onerous’, but it shows Arteta’s desire to bring back something approaching glory days.

He is also viewing this weekend’s game against Watford as preparation for the Wembley showdown with Frank Lampard’s side, sounding a warning to his players.

“The best way to prepare the final is to be 100 per cent focused on the next game, get the confidence back, get good momentum, and be physically ready to do that,” he said.

“When you’re not, bad things happen all the time. We better be prepared.

“I want to see the players that are in the best condition and the best mind-set to affect the game in the final day against Chelsea.”

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David C

8th place and the FA Cup are all we have to play for. I’d be happy with the FA Cup win and some juicy Europa money…for now anyway.

Anyone think we will be higher than Liverpool, City, Man U, or Chelsea next year?

Gunner0304

I think our realistic goal next year is to challenge for champions League spot (that means we will be fighting against utd, Chelsea, Leicester etc). That’s if we improve on our squad. City and Liv are miles ahead of us (no need to focus on them).

Sunmolar

Maybe winning the EPL is a better goal for next season.

Nilaroulettes

I think Chelsea will be hard to beat considering the enormous amount of money they spend this summer.

I can see Liverpool having a down year after two good seasons.

God is a Gooner

I agree Liverpool need to strengthen not to rest on their laurels. Why they didn’t stump up for Timo Werner I have no idea. Firminho has one goal at home this season, they need to invest upfront while their caché is high.

A Different George

I’m sure they would love to have Firmino score more goals at home, but he plays more like a false 9 or 10, with Salah and Mane doing more of the scoring. He’s not a weakness at all.

Toni

He’s the decoy

BillyKrystal

If Chelski get Havertz in addition to Werner that’s some serious improvement. Probably will add a defender too. United will certainly strengthen more, Liverpool and City still there. I don’t see us competing with those 4 next season. Not unless everything magically clicks into place.

David C

I’m more afraid of Chelsea and Man Ure getting new keepers. That will really improve them.

Anonymarse

Or better managers

SB Still

That’s why I hope ManU don’t have CL for next season and end-up in EL. Hope Leicester beat ManU.

towelie

Sadly, I don’t think so. Maybe Man U. Live and City are a long way ahead of us and Chelsea will be much stronger with Werner, Ziyech and possibly Havertz. They will most likely replace Kepa too. If Man U sign Sancho and Grealish as being rumoured, they will be stronger too. I don’t have high hopes for next season, but I am very excited what can Mikel do with a pre-season and a full season

backsakacrack

We should get Havertz, how about that? Haven’t heard anything of the sort but my god how good would that be..
One of the best young AMs in the game, our number 10 for a decade. Common Raul sell him the dream
6ft+ technically perfect, the lad has shades of Bergkamp

Nketibag

Oh man! What a shout. Now THAT is a player we can build the team around.
Havertz won’t even play at che$ea, they need defenders. If he has any sense he will take a chance with us. I’m off to sacrifice a goat to the transfer gods. Make.this.happen.

Artetas Assistant

May the gods accept your sacrifice my brother

Homer

If it takes a little magic, i am ALL FOR IT.
Make it so!!!

DaDude

Isn’t he rated around 80 million Euro? I am afraid that’s not our price range at the moment.

Martin

I can see no reason why we cannot finish above Man Utd or Chelsea next season.

Andy

I think if we finish higher than any of those 4 or Spuds it would be a significant achievement based on the personnel we are likely to have available.

SLC Gooner

Chelsea is likely to be pretty strong next year, though they have questions in defense. But I’d still expect them to end up ahead of us. MU has even more questions in defense. I could certainly see us finishing ahead of them if we manage things correctly and they don’t sort their defense out.

Naked Cygan

First we have to make sure we dont lose home and away to Brighton, and finish above wolves, sheff utd, and Burnley, then we can talk about man u and Chelsea.

DaDude

I agree, we are talking about “8th place and FA Cup” in the comments here, but it seems we forget that for finishing 8th we need a tiny bit of help on 2 fronts and a proper result in our own game. It is far more realistic that we are finishing 10th on Sunday than 8th, not that it would make a big difference anyway. But first priority is that no one else apart from the other “usual top 6” shall finish above us next season. And to be brutally honest, that should have been possible even with this season’s… Read more »

Fatgooner

Fantastic attitude, Arteta! Arsenal Football Club is a massive sporting institution and our main aim should always be winning the title. FA Cup wins are always very nice when they happen but they should always be considered as a pleasant bonus. Topping the Premier League table and winning the Champions League should ALWAYS be our targets. Sadly, we’ve spent the last decade being owned by an American businessman who’s only concerned with making a few pennies out of the club. A failure to demand the very highest Standards on the pitch, and to invest the time and money to make… Read more »

Nacho de Montreal is tasty

The Kroenke put 72M in Pépé and it absolutely did not move us upward in the table. PL requires more than that to win but they did right last pre-season.

DaDude

Both of you are correct in my opinion. We invested alot of money in the last windows with Pepe, Laca, Auba, etc. with mixed results concerning ROI. On the other hand, Kroenke is supposed to run us as “self sufficient” club. So it seems all these transfers were still possible while being self sufficient. However, if I remember correctly the Pepe deal was already only possible because we pay installments throughout his contract duration via some third party who gave his former club the whole fee already. So in hindsight that could turn out to be a very big gamble… Read more »

oregoon

Luckily, we don’t have much to do this transfer window. Just move out the under achievers at the best prices possible while lowering the wage bill, bring in a couple of players that can make an immediate impact, and , o yea, sign Auba up to that contract that makes everyone happy. Let’s kick off by winning the last two games. COYG!

Pakgooner

First win it

Qwaliteee

Yep. Totally agree.

Modha

He knows exactly what he is doing, managing expectations, and also ensuring they know he will be working them to the bone.

Andy

For me, the acid test is whether we are competitive at places like OT and especially Anfield. By that I mean that we have an expectation that it’s a 50 50 game or better in our favour and that the oppo have an element of fear of us. It’s been sometime since I felt that (2004 or maybe 2008), and if Arteta can somehow manage it, then I’ll feel we are back at the top table.

Nilaroulettes

For me, the test will be when we can be 1 – 0 up against a mid table team and feel in control.
You can see that teams smell the brittle spirit and lack of confidence in our players. Teams always believe they can manage a comeback against.
That is my dream : that deep down, mid table teams expect a loss when they play us. That they know we will fight hard.

I feel like that’s what Wenger failed to do in the end, and I’m cl godent Arteta can do that.

Spanish Gooner

I would happily swap losing at Old Trafford and Anfield every season for beating every team outside the top 6. Wenger was the master of this, and it’s what got us into the CL every year

SarcasmB0t

… and we fucking hated it, because we never won anything.
If I were to pick between finishing the top four and winning the F.A. Cup, I would pick the cup every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

jamie t

This guy will talk himself out of a job before long.

SarcasmB0t

Oh for fuck’s sake, enough with this “not good enough” shit.
This season has been garbage, but winning the cup would absolutely make it a good season.
Winning stuff trumps whatever bullshit tiki-taka wet dreams Arteta has for this club.
Winning is better than playing well. You want to play well so you can win. But if you can win without playing well, you take it – we took the win against Liverpool, didn’t we?
Win the cup first, then aim higher – don’t downplay it in advance.

Goonerink

So a team who wins the league or fa cup get relegated. But it’s a good season because of the cup?

No. It’s been a poor season*

*but at least we won a trophy

Goonerink

Also bad example of playing poorly.
It was a tactical setup to play so defensively and every player played really well.

djourou's nutmeg

really, why do you support arsenal? everything you said goes against the club’s values. arteta said it from the beginning, if we improve and play well, results will come. even bielsa said it this week: “im not happy for the title, im happy for what we’ve built with the players”. if you only focus on winning (a mediocre mindset which this club has never represented in 25 years) shit like this happens: you defeat liverpool and city an then lose against villa. you reach finals and lose them. you may win a match but you can’t bet on it, and… Read more »

SarcasmB0t

Look, I don’t want us to start playing Mourinhoball, but I don’t think you can put “playing well” over winning trophies. I would argue that Wenger prioritising playing his style of football and finishing in CL places over actually winning stuff WAS a mediocre mindset. Most of those teams played fine football, but it didn’t really amount to anything. You ask why I support Arsenal, and, you know, fuck you. But I wonder why you even watch football if you seemingly don’t care about winning. Sure you can’t be sure you’ll win every match – but that’s part of any… Read more »

djourou's nutmeg

does it change anything for you, personally, if we win a trophy? it surely doesn’t change mine at all, my life will be the exact same. but it will indeed change my mood if i see my team trying, connecting, stating a point, caring for each other and battling to overcome the obstacles they face. i might even get motivated to do the same. so what i want is to see a competitive team to try their best week in, week out. to feel represented by them. not a friggin piece of metal, nor the winners title. form is temporary,… Read more »

SarcasmB0t

Yup. When we win a trophy, I get to celebrate, I get to put a new poster on my office corkboard, I get to memorize another year we’ve won a trophy, most importantly, I get to feel like the season had led to something tangible. Look, I don’t need to watch somebody “try their best week in, week out” – I live that every day at work. The beauty of sports is that the hard work can lead to something objective – a trophy, whereas all the hard work at my job leads to is a disappointing paycheck. Whether you… Read more »

djourou's nutmeg

it’s cool to know your opinion and i respect it. personally if i want to celebrate i go to a party, i don’t need football to do that. what i do like is to feel there’s an institution that defends my values in and off the pitch. and i do like winning, i just think of it as a desirable effect of being competitive, and not backwards. cheers!

jimbo

winning doesnt matter? losers attitude, one of the problems with seeing 4th as an achievement is that standards eventually slip. now finishing 5th or 6th will be seen as an achievement.

jimbo

less talk more results please

Santori

Considering he has had pretty much the same team as Unai plus additions of Mari/Cedric, this would be a bit of a disappointment if we end without the FA cup. 8th/10th is a poor finish considering a umber of teams ahead of us (Leicester, Wolves, Sheffield) have poorer resource and Spurs are in a restricted spend mode. I’m not sure I’d share the sentiment by some fans that we are improving. Tactically Arteta is innovative but working under the protective shadow of Pep is one thing, enforcing a style of play that this team does not have sufficient technical players… Read more »

Crash Fistfight

I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t believe you can succeed with the type of football Arteta seems to have as a vision, without having a massive budget. All the teams doing well on lower budgets/improving their standings play a much more athletic, space-controlling (as opposed to possession-controlling) game. Look at the teams above us, including Liverpool winning the league. Moenchengladbach and Leipzig in Germany, Atalanta in Italy, even Atletico Madrid (to a lesser extent). Unless you have lots of money like City, PSG, Bayern (in comparison to the rest of the league) and Barca, you can’t guarantee that every… Read more »

Frank Bascombe

Got some great news for you, you’re wrong.

Frank Bascombe

Considering he has had pretty much the same team as Unai plus additions of Mari/Cedric, this would be a bit of a disappointment if we end without the FA cup’…

How’s that then, because Emery didn’t win the FA Cup? He got us to a final agains the same team, so by your logic, if we lose by less than three goals, Areta’s a better manager? Yeah, I’d go along with that.

Frank Bascombe

My expectations for Arsenal is that they’re competitive. Which, given the club’s resources, is fair. If Arteta can achieve a top six spot next season he’ll have done well and if, during the course of that, we manage a win at Old Trafford, Anfield or Spurs, it’ll be proof of improvement. One which could make a top-four place a realistic goal for the following season. If that’s achieved, we could be challenging for the title within three seasons… Neither Rome nor Liverpool, built in a day.

Qwaliteee

Good post. If we’re top six next year, top four in two years and challenging for the title in three years, that will be a fantastic achievement, given the mess we’re currently in. It would also resemble George Graham’s achievements. League Cup Winners in his first season, so nearly winners again the following season (and we would have won it, but for an injured David O’Leary; his replacement was Gus Caesar – a guy whose central defending made Mustafi look like Franz Beckenbauer) and the league title in his third season.

Qwaliteee

Hmmm. I have to say, that whilst lofty ambitions are great, the time to say that winning the FA Cup is not enough, is perhaps after you have won it, not before. To have said that it will be fantastic to end this campaign with a trophy and then continue to rebuild and aim for the top prizes next season might have been a better response, albeit a little predictable. That said, I would like to make it clear that this is only the tinniest criticism of the new boss and to reiterate my opinion that his drive and ambition… Read more »