Mikel Arteta admits Arsenal are currently in a relegation scrap after a run of one win in 10 Premier League games.
The Gunners sit 15th in the table but could be dragged into the drop zone in the coming weeks if they don’t pick up positive results against Chelsea, Brighton and West Bromwich Albion.
Having started the season with the aim of closing the gap on the top four, the campaign has quickly spiralled out of control leading to questions over the Spaniard’s managerial credentials.
“I’m suffering and I’m hurting,” Arteta told Sky Sports ahead of the Boxing Day clash with Frank Lampard’s Blues.
“I’m hurting because I love this football club, I care so much about what we want to do.
“When I don’t do things to perfection and just the way I want it in the timing [I set], I feel like I’ve let people down. To live with that feeling is incredibly hard.
“As well, I have to know that what I thought a year ago that it [the job] would be, what I wanted to do and what I am right now; that perspective is not far from where we are.”
Having replaced Slaven Bilic at West Bromwich Albion, Sam Allardyce, who knows a thing or two about being in the lower reaches of the table, said Arsenal’s form meant we are very much in the mix for relegation.
Arteta doesn’t disagree. “At the moment, it is [true]. We have to win, we haven’t won enough in the last 10 [games].
“This is our reality now, this is the challenge we are facing. When you are facing a moment of difficulty, you have two types of people. Fighters and victims. At the moment, we just need fighters, I’m afraid.”
In his pre-game press conference, the boss reiterated the importance of the next three games.
“The next seven to eight days are going to be crucial to see where we’re going to be heading to in the Premier League,” he said.
“We have to stand up and we have to pick up the points. Let’s draw a line and move forward. Whether it’s bad luck or these things that are affecting our results, they have to change dramatically.”