Arteta: The next two weeks are crucial

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Mikel Arteta admits Arsenal are facing a make or break two weeks of the season with qualification for Europe one the line.

After consecutive defeats to Wolves and Aston Villa, the Gunners’ tough run of fixtures continues on Sunday when Leeds United visit the Emirates. A Europa League double-header then sandwiches a clash against league leaders Manchester City and before the month is out, we also travel to Leicester who are hot on the heels of Pep Guardiola’s men.

It’s a daunting run, especially as consistency has been hard to come by on the domestic front.

“We’ve got some big games coming up, really quick, I think it’s every three days,” noted the boss in his weekly press conference.

“It’s what we’ve talked about since the start of the season, that what we are lacking is the consistency to do it every three days and keep winning, winning and winning.

“We had a really good patch in the seven games when we won a lot of games and just drew one, didn’t concede goals. Then we end up losing the last two games in an incredible way. It is what it is.

“The margins between winning and losing games are really thin and when it’s down to you, you cannot make those mistakes.

“They [the next two weeks] are going to be crucial. We don’t have any margin [for error] in the league and the Europa League. The moment you don’t do what you have to do you’re out. The level of attention and the level of performance are going to be really high and really demanding. We have to face the challenge and go through them.”

In normal circumstances, having a week to chew over a defeat wouldn’t be particularly welcome. But this is no ordinary season and the chance to spend valuable time with his players on the training ground following last weekend’s one-nil defeat at Villa Park is something Arteta has embraced.

“I think we took the situation as it came and tried to make the most of it, tried to use the week in the best possible way,” he said.

“We analysed a lot of things that we’ve been doing, things that are working, things that need to improve. We’ve put some training sessions together that we’ve not [previously] had time to do to develop in our way of playing and how we’re going to compete in games to win football matches.”

It remains to be seen whether the Gunners can salvage anything from a season that threatened to completely implode before Christmas. Currently 11th in the table, a top four finish seems incredibly unlikely but qualifying for Europe via the league or by winning the Europa League isn’t inconceivable.

Asked what success for the rest of the campaign looks like, Arteta said: “First, we have to improve our position in the league dramatically. To do that we have to win a lot of football matches.

“How many will depend on what our opponents do because at the moment it’s not in our hands. We need to get into Europe and into a close situation where we compete for that trophy. It’s going to be key to seeing where we can compete in which competition next season.”

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Johnny 4 Hats

We absolutely need to start with 3 points tomorrow. Even thought there are extenuating circumstances for our last two defeats and all round good performances, if you lose three on the bounce then the #out brigade are in full force.

Hard few weeks but let’s just focus on tomorrow. Tough side and there’s a score to settle for some players.

COYG!!!

Fezec

If people are calling for Klopp’s head already, Arteta has no hope.

Having flashbacks to 2011 when our whole season was decided in 2 weeks.

That’s pretty much how we’re going to live the rest of the season now.

viegunner

i think that looking from game to game is especially true in our current situation. we’re obviously looking at 6th place right now (hoping the cups are won by teams above 6th) which isn’t impossible point-wise but we’d need to overtake 5 teams. that obviously means we have to put a better run together than all of those teams, with most of them solely focussing on the PL while we also play for the EL, which i’ve got doubts about. it’s 15 games to play and west ham are 8 points above us. just take it game by game and… Read more »

El Mintero

Who’s calling for Klopp’s head?! Fake news.

Johnny 4 Hats

United fans.

Qwaliteee

🤣👍

Billy bob

Yeah I hate it when an arsenal manager says “the season hinges on the next few weeks” – I remember Wenger saying it and each time the players capitulated!!!

Tierney’s Tescopoints

A must win game. We should have had at least 4 points from the last 2 games and it’s stupid errors and lack of discipline that cost us. I think we’ll need Saka at left back for today in Tierney’s absence and hope not to see Luiz or Willian!

Twatsloch

We can’t do much about dodgy refs handing out red cards for shits and giggles.

Johnny 4 Hats

Shits and giggles – Otherwise known as Harrison and Alioski

Qwaliteee

All the best Arsenal sides learned to live with that.

Qwaliteee

One game at a time and all that jazz, but yes, let’s hope we can get through this next batch of games without being trashed.

Naked Cygan

Nothing has really gone for us this season. The positives have been watching players like Saka, Tierney and ESR improve and grow in this team. Getting rid of most of the dead woos players in the last transfer market was also a positive. Other than that it has been a total bollocks of a season. Auba under performing, watching Willian, the stupid red cards, VAR totally working against us, players underperforming and letting the manager down. If feel the Europa Leauge is the only thing we got going for us and we have to put all our eggs and effort… Read more »

MrT

Always excuses… Summer time it was KSE needing to spend money = Tick Coming towards January with bad results , they said get rid of the so called deadwood players = Tick Now, coming towards end of season, let’s have ‘ sympathy ‘ towards Arteta for the injured players with have = Tick With that let’s also blame the Ref’s and VAR for our bad results = Tick You just dont see it, do you… How many more ‘ Ticks ‘ is required or excuses needed to keep Arteta in his job.. ??? He is not cut out for Arsenal… Read more »

Naked Cygan

Fk off

Timi

There goes another plastic fan! A member of the Arteta cult who worships in his temple!

Qwaliteee

I’d say that was a comfortable win there for you, Mr T.

They always resort to abuse when they know they’ve lost the argument.

Bergcape

Stop being a tick

Timi

It’s shocking how they defend this incompetent guy! Just shocking.

DB10s airmiles

What is he incompetent at, commenting?

Fezec

Mr. Tick

Murphy was an Arsenal Fan

Perhaps you are right that Arteta is not right for Arsenal. But to simply reject the existence of extenuating circumstances is to reject the reality of the situation. This is not to say that he has been faultless, far from it. A few like the Willian Persistence are very starkly seen. But not everything is as bad as you would have yourself and everyone believe. Quite frankly, United were in a similar position to us with OGS. Personally, I think – and nobody can know, but well – we will be much better positioned in all competitions by the end… Read more »

MrT

The squad we have/he had in his disposal start of season was a Top 4 team ( even in these difficult circumstances we are in ) = Current 11th Tick 😉
OGS Man Utd , your mistaken his first full season 2019/20 they finished = 3rd Champions league Tick 😉

Murphy was an Arsenal Fan

Bit of an essay, but bear with me. Currently, considering the game time-tables, a top-4 squad is (A)one that almost never gets injured, and if it does, it is able to bounce back within a day or two, or (B) has such incredible depth that the quality of a random choice between any two or more players for the same position within the squad is basically the toss of an unbiased coin. Exhibit A: Goalkeeping position. Most of us would agree that Runarsson is not that great, and it is too early to make any call on Ryan. Not discussing… Read more »

MrT

That was long a read…. However, let me give you the squad which was in our disposable at the beginning of season & you tell me if it is was not a top 4 : Leno ( Martinez, should not of been sold ) Bellerin – Holding – Gabi – Tier ( Cedric – A.Niles – Luiz – Mari – Saliba – Musti – Soktaris – Koli ) Partey – Xhaka ( Torreira -Cabellos -Guendouzi -Elneny ) Pepe – Ozil – Saka ( Willian – Nelson – ESR – Willock – Martinelli ) Aubameyang ( Lacazette – Nki – Balagun… Read more »

Murphy was an Arsenal Fan

Straight out BS. You definitely didn’t read. There is a massive disparity in replacement quality. Don’t tell me Torreira, Elneny and Guendouzi are considered equivalent replacements for Partey. Or Kolasinac or AMN or Cedric for Tierney. You are simply going on the Quantity is a quality on its own model. It doesn’t work. Martinez shouldn’t have been sold, but he wanted to leave. There is a big difference. And I know that you have been joking all this while when Mustafi is considered anywhere at all. And I will throw you a bone, Willian shouldn’t be counted as a football… Read more »

MrT

All the names you have mentioned are all ‘ International ‘ players to there relevant countries… Torreira, Elneny, Guendouzi, Kolisanic, AMN & Cedric, I would have them as all my ‘ Squad players ‘ Exoerienced & Youth… You can not have ‘ All star ‘ players in your squad, balance is the key & coaching each player to there capabilities is part of Arteta’s job. Does not matter if Martinez wanted to leave, up to the manager again to persuade the player to stay at least another year , but he couldn’t… I’ll give you a bone too… ‘ Mustafi… Read more »

Qwaliteee

OSG put out the best players available to him. Arteta didn’t. Big difference.

TCGNR

go support chelsea

Jimbo

You do realise someone can be a supporter of the club and not agree with every managerial decision or rate every player.
It would be pretty boring if everyone just had the same opinion.
Telling people to fuck off or go support another club cos you dont agree with them just makes you look like a child.

Qwaliteee

Word. 👍

jakseth

I agree Arteta is not the coach we need. Too many bad decisions since the beginning of the season. I need to remind everyone player rotation that improved the team in December was imposed on him by injury and nothing else. Plus we started winning against teams out of form. As soon as the team is decent we don’t win. it’s as simple as that. I don’t have much hope where are going to be in 2 weeks time. I do hope it will be the end of the Arteta experiment. Also at the end of the day we have… Read more »

Qwaliteee

Omitting your best creative midfielder doesn’t exactly help.

I’ve refrained from mentioning his name. It’s Sunday, I’m a nice guy and I don’t want to upset certain individuals on here who would only wet the bed and resort to abuse and name calling because they can’t objectively acknowledge our pitiful league campaign and the factors behind it.

Jimbo

Ozil ozil ozil ozil ozil ozil.
there you go hope you feel better now.
Lets pray for a win today and a good performance.
Actually looking forward to the game the battle for 10th place super sunday

Qwaliteee

Nope! I’m not going to mention his name. 😊

Keith

Make or break is a huge understatement, the careers of many within the club, both players and management are on the line now, the likes of willian, auba may be surplus to requirements and arteta is not out of the woods either! This may be the start of something or the end of another failed project.

Biggles

Never a truer word etc. Most of the good work following the earlier disastrous spell in the PL has been undone by the second disastrous spell that we’re in now. Although I guess that the Leeds game isn’t an absolute, nailed on, “must win”, things will really look rough if we fail to get all the points. And any talk of a top four finish, referenced briefly in the article, was frankly nonsense weeks ago, and it certainly hasn’t improved since on our current form. Hoping to get into the EL next season by winning it this time is obviously… Read more »

Prakhar

I trust the process. I trust Plan A approach.

jerry fallon

why?

SarcasmB0t

Some people are of the religious bent. Whether they are actually observant is beside the point – the important part is they chose what they want to believe and will not be dissuaded from it no matter the amount of evidence to the contrary.

See also: global warming denialism; anti-vaxxing; flat earth; QAnon; Trump, Donald.

Murphy was an Arsenal Fan

Because the original Plan W was hounded out disgracefully (though a change in the execution of the plan was necessary); plan E was such an utter flop that E = Emergency Exit is what we learnt, and the global situation means that we cannot attract an actual alternate plan that will persist with the club, show patience with the club knowing full well that every pound spent will be extracted as a pound of flesh by an owner who wants to never be seen and intends to have a patsy or puppet as a manager, and despite that a “philosophy”… Read more »

Qwaliteee

The Wenger Out mob must be feeling a right bunch of Charlies now.

Actually, scrap that – they won’t. They’re too thick to fully acknowledge when the grass was definitely greener.

Mid table mediocrity is the new normal for them.

C.B.

What did the Wenger ever do for us?

C.B.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7tvauOJMHo if you don’t follow the point…

Murphy was an Arsenal Fan

Poor C.B., has to explain sarcasm

Qwaliteee

🤣 Brilliant.

One of the greatest films ever.

“Alright, apart from three Premiership Titles, seven FA Cups, two League and Cup Doubles, an entire season in the league unbeaten, a record 49 unbeaten games, our first appearance in a Champions League/European Cup Final, Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Marc Overmars, Patrick Vieira, Sol Campbell, Manu Petit, Cesc Fabregas, Santo Cazorla, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Premiership title clincher victories at Old Trafford and White Hart Lane……what has Arsene Wenger ever done for us….?!!”

Qwaliteee

*Santi

MrT

What is the process ?

Qwaliteee

Omit best creative midfielder, place unconditional faith in a useless Chelsea has been (make that two) oversee worst start to a league campaign for 40 years, sink to 15th and finally get bailed out three games from the axe by a couple of last throw of dice teenagers.

Very strategic. A supreme master plan befitting Chapman, Busby, Shankly, Wenger, Ferguson, the lot.

Fezec

You have angered the Dementors, run Harry!

Santori

Manchester City Next weekend.

I’d prioritise on Benfica /Europa clash.

City we’d be lucky to gather anything.

Murphy was an Arsenal Fan

Agreed, though, if we had Tierney and Partey available, and had the horrible Wolves cascade not happened, we would have gone into the games hereon with far more confidence than that.

That said, we as fans ought to be less snobbish about the UEL, and as you said, a decision to prioritise that competition is something to back surely.

Karl

The defeat to Wolves was totally unjust given how we were playing and the bizarre sending off. Villa was a consequence of the teams confidence being knocked and a few decisions not going our way.

If Mikel can get them feeling good again, there is talent in the team.

Timi

Members of the Arteta cult have an explanation for every failure!!! Unai Emery must be reading these kinds of comments and wondering what else defines hypocrisy???? Arteta is a failure.

karl

Just realistic about a young manager and where we are as a club. I am not keen on some things he does, but he is not out to please me alone: 1 Playing players out of position like Xhaka constantly dropping into defence and leaving big gaps in midfield 2 Same with Bellerin trying to come into midfield and leaving his position exposed 3 Playing Aubameyang left and reducing our creativity from wide I could go on, but I know he is doing a better job than I could. How could you not think there were injustices with the Luiz… Read more »

Line-up against Leeds? I would love to see Odegaard get 90 minutes.

——————–Leno—————–
Bellerin – Holding – Gabriel – Saka
————-Elneny – Xhaka———–
Odegaard – Smith-Rowe – Aubameyang
—————–Lacazette—————-

Rochester

I’d be OK with that, although I wouldn’t like to see Pepe miss out, Maybe Aubameyang through the middle?

Daveo

El neny xhaka is a disastrous combination. Would rather see ceballos xhaka (not that they’ve convinced much together either)… Shows how important partey is and how weak we are in the middle of the pitch.

karl

I like Gabriel, but Mari looked more solid and calm if he is fit. Also I would prefer Pepe on the left.

Xhakass

Come on lads! I’m a supporter, I will support. The pleasure of success is made more enjoyable when you’ve experience the pain of defeat.

Qwaliteee

I’m all for getting behind the manager if he has and is clearly utilising the resources available to him. Arteta has not done that this season. I’m sure I don’t have to spell out how yet again. Consequently, this season has been, for the most part, an utter joke. I’m afraid that whilst I’n prepared to give the guy a fair crack of the whip, that only at least a couple of seasons will constitute, his team selections have not endeared me yet to any talk of a ‘process.’ I’m not among those screaming for him to be sacked, but… Read more »

SarcasmB0t

In other news – Arteta: The grass is green, the ball is round, water is wet, I put Gorilla glue in my hair.

Qwaliteee

Not ‘Sol Glo’….?

Ex gooner

Crucial for his own future? Don’t worry. As long as you keep buying/playing a certain (notorious)agent’s clients, no matter how they underperform, you are safe mate. Fans are taken for a ride when people in the board starts taking kickbacks for hefty payments made to agents. Staff were sacked from the club to make room for more agent payments, and in turn more kickbacks. And the fans who still support the so called process are pathetic.

During Wenger’s time, these scrupulous agents could never get anywhere near this club. Now look where the club got to.

I think that’s a fair take on why we are in our current situation, even if it might be an unthinkable truth for some.

P.S. Are you an ex-Gooner because you stopped supporting the club or you used to play for Arsenal.

Biggles

While the club appears to be paying agent’s more money (most clubs are now) I don’t think your argument stands up. The reason why staff were sacked was the same reason most players agreed to take a temporary pay cut – to save money – but not to divert the savings to “shadowy” areas though. With the on-going effects of Covid on club income, those savings weren’t enough (they were never going to be given the problems the pandemic was/is causing) which is why the club took out a £120 million Govt. loan recently. Although I admit it’s certainly less… Read more »

Qwaliteee

Biggs, every time I read your posts, the intro to Pink Floyd’s ‘Money’ starts in my mind.

For the life of me, I can’t think why…..😉👍🍺🍺

Qwaliteee

Top post, well said.

Nothing like having the drains up and telling it like it is – even if the drains really do pong.

As Lennon (John, not the crap Theo wannabe) said “Honesty is not always the best policy – but I prefer it.”

Billy bob

Basically focus on our strength – cup competitions!!! If the first leg against Benfica is a close call then sorry, put your second string out against Man City, then the strongest team against Benfica in the return leg – Man City are in a league of their own at the moment so be pragmatic!!!

Riku

Agree , there’s imo no much difference between a lot of the options ( KT, Partey, saka , being the exceptions )

Just Arteta don’t play same twice in same week . Rest players.

MojoWillneny

No disrespect to Leeds or the Prem, but after the latest run of one point from nine the Europa is the competition that matters most for us now. Hope Arteta plays his strongest eleven for Benfica in mid-week. However, with Tierney and Partey out and assuming Saka and Leno are automatic choices, based on current form it must be very tough to know how to round out a ‘best eleven’ from the remaining players. He’ll have to make that call based on tactical strategy against Benfica’s weaknesses. Saka and Leno really are the class of this group. After that, it’s… Read more »

jerry fallon

What would people take from the next games as a good result?
we need at least 6 points and i cant really see it.
today is a must win. we are too far behind to drop many points. i dont see anything from the city game but we will have to beat leicester.
personally i think top 6 is already behond this team but
Hopefully the team can step up and at leat have a strong end to the season Auba must be due to find his scoring boots soon.