Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal are a better team than this time last year but admits his side still need “to learn how to win”.

Knocked out of the Europa League on away goals by Olympiacos last year, the Gunners have a chance for revenge in the next seven days after drawing the Greeks in the last-16 of this season’s tournament.

Ahead of tomorrow’s first-leg in Athens, the boss was asked to reflect on the progress his players have made in 12 months.

“Obviously it was a really tough one to swallow,” he said of last year’s painful exit.

“The way it happened at the end, it was really cruel. After everything we did in the two games, to lose the way we did and with the late chance Auba had… But we moved on. We have some feelings towards that team and we want to put it right in the next round.

He added: “I think we are a better team than we were last year. Looking back at the two games that we played and the way we are playing now, I think we have come a long way.”

Out of the Carabao Cup and FA Cup and currently 10th in the Premier League table, it’s clear that the Europa League represents a final shot at qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

After a run of frustrating domestic results, Arteta is keen to build momentum wherever possible knowing a place in the Europa League or Europa Conference League is not out of the question if his side can push on in the league.

Sandwiched between the two Olympiacos clashes, the Gunners face Sp*rs at the Emirates and then take on West Ham and Liverpool. It’s a vital stage of the season.

“We have a massive week with the next four games that we have in a short period,” he said.

“We have to manage the squad but obviously the main game is tomorrow and we have to focus on that. Tomorrow’s game is going to help us for the weekend, it’s going to help us for next week. We have to focus on tomorrow.

He added: “There is a lot to do in both competitions. We have to go very far to get into the Champions League via the Europa League, with the amount of games you have to win. It’s the same in the Premier League.

“The points that we lost in the three away games against Wolves, Aston Villa and Burnley sums up our season a little bit.

“We should’ve got much more from those games and we would have been in a different position. But our reality is that at the end, we don’t find the way to win.

“We have to learn how to win and be consistent in winning in every three days when you produce those performances. It’s the biggest margin that we have to improve.”

guest
64 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
OnlyBeingHonest

I understand the fan base is split on Mikel but i have to say i’m a fan, Hope we stick with him for the long haul

Daveo

Firmly on the fence. He has a lot to prove. We have shown some positive signs in terms of what we are showing on the pitch, but we still struggle for results. Tactically, I think he is developing some great ideas. Player management, normal for a rookie coach, needs developing – particularly in terms of youth development and support. I definitely hope he pulls through, but 7-11th in the league and an out before the semi finals of Europa and it is a failed season and the pressure is MASSIVELY on him. He needs to start accepting this is his… Read more »

afl

Of course this is his team. Why is he behaving as if he has taken us over 3 and not 18 months ago I can only wonder. He has had 3 transfer windows and has spent not an insignificant amount of money without generating any. There is no notable improvement of results, league form, consistency or the team spirit. The players that could generate us profit in the transfer market are handled in a way as if we’re trying on purpose to decrease their value. And I am sory but MA rhetoric shows that he is much more Koeman type… Read more »

Giuseppe Hovno

Chelsea show us nothing. They’re got a ton more money. They can afford to just relegate a 70m gk to the bench. Equally they can afford to just rebuild the squad every few years.

afl

managing the club successfully is not neccessarily linked with amount of money you’ve got at your disposal but with utilising it smartly and achieving better results with smart man management.

NoRecencyBias

Chelsea’s an unfair model to compare us with – I prefer to look at Liverpool, Leicester etc.

We need smarter recruitments, and cannot afford to have our last 3 managers still on the payroll.

btw

Not recruiting Klopp in 2015 was Arsenal management’s biggest mistake.

Once a gunner

My friend comparing us with cheski is so naive, any good coach will perform better with Chelsea any day anywhere, you know why? Because they have quality players in every department just the ability to put the right players in a right place at a given match is what they need coach for. So in our case we lack quality in every department. On the field we still have to buy quality players for us to thrive. So arsenal can not tow the line of Chelsea to succeed. More so if you study the team from December we have been… Read more »

afl

Chelsea do have more money, no argument on that one, but I disagree strongly with the opinion that they’ve got more quality at every department than us.
You’re right though that they need coach to put the right players at right place in a given match, we do as well. I believe that a good coach could use the quality we have at arsenal much better than MA does.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Can’t understand the downvotes you’ve got for telling the truth. If we lose the game tomorrow, come back with the same comments, you will get 95% of upvotes. Emery went more than 20 games unbeaten, Arteta can’t even get 6 unbeaten.

Kentish Gooner

Football fans are fickle beings 🙂

btw

During Emery’s unbeaten run we were incredibly lucky, and the underlying statistics supported that, as well as my own eyes. We looked dreadful the first half of this season, and if we were on the same trajectory I would be more critical of Arteta, in contrast, Emery followed his 20-games unbeaten run with steady decline. Arteta has been correcting this, he is far from perfect, but the trend since Christmas (see last tactics column) has been good.

ASH

We were not lucky, we still had Ozil and Ramsey.

Whatever problems these two had, they were still miles better than Willian, Pepe, Ceballos or most of the dross that we added in the last few transfer windows.

NoRecencyBias

From 7th in the League (while barely controlling games) to currently sitting 11th (with an exciting emerging team identity)? I believe, dear Sir, that this is a clear illustration of a stat not telling the WHOLE story (albeit a highly important stat). My eyes tell me that most points we’ve conceded this season were within very narrow margins (moreso through individual errors than a systemic downshift), which backs Arteta’s assessment that we’re still in the process of learning how to win. A) He’s got a lot to prove. B) He’s also done wonders with the calibre of players at his… Read more »

AubaBomba

Lol, then with mid-table players we’ll get mid-table results. I don’t care who you put as our head coach, the dynamic duo of Xhaka and Ceballos won’t even win us the league.

And for man management, probably some things to learn yet. But you’re crying for results and complaining the deadwood that was shifted didn’t bring in any revenue.

You can’t have it both ways. Or go for results. Or “preserve” player value. What do you prefer?

Daveo

Preserve player value of our young players sure. But we have recruited experienced players terribly – like close to the worst in Europe over the last 10 years. This is was trying to right some of those wrongs. Problem was we went and doubled down on Willian (and that was Mikel’s choice – his fix he cannot get off). I agree the likes of Xhaka, Luiz and Willian are the bang average players, or at least decent players that make very costly mistakes all too often (Xhaka and Luiz) and holding us back. But Mikel keeps picking them. Sure our… Read more »

kasgood

Would any decent/top coach (Tuchel, Ancelotti etc) waste there time on the likes of Xhaka, Willian etc) I think not.

afl

“I could handle 10th place if it meant we were a young team building something, but right now we are still frustratingly obsessed with old players that say the right things to Mikel” So so true! It is quite frankly inconceivable to me how true Arsenal fan can just overlook the fact that Arteta’s transfer policy and team selection negatively influence our future on and of the field. Guendouzi, Torreira, Saliba, Nelson, Martineli, Balogun., Willock, AMN… You don’t have to value any or all of them but these are all young players who were, apart of Balogun, and partly Nelson… Read more »

Daveo

100%. He doesn’t play them (except basically when he has to [see ESR] or in the cups) and then he expects they sit by like perfect soldiers and have impeccable morals and mental attitudes all the while they are in the most critical point of their careers to kick on (or not). Not only that but these are the players that have ACTUAL value in the market. During Arteta’s tenure alone we’ve cost ourselves a fortune wasting value of our young players (the guys you have listed).

AubaBomba

All the points you made there are fair. Not a single counter argument honestly.

I’d only say sacking the scouts wasn’t his call. But agreed, genuinely hope Luiz isn’t renewed, Laca shifted, and Willian breaks a leg.

Daveo

Oh I don’t blame Mikel for anywhere near all our problems. It has been a good decade or more of imcompetence by many different people that has lead to this point. But giving our current plight Mikel’s honeymoon period is well and truly over, particularly while he continues to rely on these older guys.

ASH

Ceballos loan ended in 2020, but it was renewed by .. Arteta
Xhaka had decided to leave Arsenal, but he was convinced to stay by … Arteta
Willian was persuaded to join Arsenal by … Arteta.

I can go on and on and on….

Daveo

He is Pep’s protege. Pep has built his teams with basically bottomless pits of money. He doesn’t develop much youth at all. Arteta is trying the same with more limited funds. This is the thing that concerns me most about him succeeding at Arsenal. We’re not going to succeed via established and aging stars, we need to focus on development. It was a soul crushing move to can our scouting team.

Johnny 2 Bad

Completely agree with that. Let’s see which way the comments swing tomorrow!

db10s

It’s hard to disagree with the league table but I haven’t come to a conclusion on Arteta yet. The amount of losses this season from things outside a manager’s control is quite significant. 5 red cards, mistakes like Xhaka’s etc etc. On the top of my head that’s 12 possible points dropped and those 12 points translate to 4th/5th in the table now. Part of me wants to stick with him and see what happens after next season because no matter who we hire now, it won’t change the fact that football finances are decimated meaning we won’t be able… Read more »

Andy

Problem is that fans of all the teams above us will say exactly the same thing. Everyone has let in stupid goals, everyone has been dicked by VAR, and everyone has had injuries

TomH

Havent been dicked by VAR the way we have.
Havent deliberately cost themselves as many goals as we have.
Injuries cost us more because we have no depth.

VAR aside, we dont have daddy to bail us out financially and transfer windows only come around twice a year. That means any progress we can make will only be slow.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Lampard did better and still got sacked. It seems Chelsea will be top four, will play CL next year and make a lot more money than we do.

David C

I know what you mean, but then you see what Tuchel’s doing at Chelsea compared to the inexperienced Lampard….

What if Klopp is available soon? Would be hard not to be interested…

Headinthecloudz

Jurgen, where do you fancy next? Mmmm… 10th placed Arsenal with Xhaka and Luiz. Now there’s a team.

Andy

At the end of the season what counts as success? Do we need to be in Champs League? Genuine question.

ASH

ARTETA Full Quote: WE’RE A BETTER TEAM THAN LAST YEAR, BUT…. I still am unable to find the stat which can prove this.

Daniel McCarthy

Nonsense – better team than last year maybe, better Manager? Not for me

gus

hes a shit coach—thats why we are where we are–cant handle players properly eg saliba ozil
sack the pretender and bring in allegri or get used to having west ham and moyes above us in the league

TomH

I’m judging Mikel on his ability to improve our mental strength, our spine, our conviction in games. I dont expect much in these coming weeks thanks to how this season has been, there is no real evidence to expect anything or be particularly excited. I do though expect a very obvious improvement in mental strength and character of the team come this time next year. Changing the mentality of a team that has been so pathetic and soft for so many years is the one fix that is intangible and yet essential to any possible success. Its also the one… Read more »

NoRecencyBias

Well said.

Headinthecloudz

i agree but success and mental strength are not mutually exclusive. You need success to boost mental strength. What use is a team with mental strength who continually shoot themselves in the foot?

Giuseppe Hovno

I like what this man says

Man Manny

Arteta is a likeable person. Besides, I can see progress in the team compared to last year.
But if we don’t win the EL this season, and by this time next year we are still outside the European places (this is a distinct possibility considering the strength of the teams above us and the likely paucity of funds in summer), I feel his position may become untenable.
Arsenal would be cut adrift if we are out of Europe for two straight seasons!

Hailegna Debele

Be confident you have winner team now what you have to do is trust on your self you win the game

Biggles

Yes, I think that’s right overall but we’ve still been up and down like the proverbial fiddler’s elbow this season and, so far, have failed to make any progress in the PL for months now. That said, we do still have to keep reminding ourselves that he’s been in charge for about 15 months – and that’s his total experience as a manager/head coach.

AubaBomba

I love all these tough love fans saying Arteta should already be bringing in trophies and qualifying us for the UCL.

Lads, our team is bullocks. Our midfield is bullocks. Our strikers are bullocks.

I urge you to find another coach who could win us the FA Cup within 6 months of taking the job.

Gunnerer

By the looks of it, we’ve got quite a bovine team. Mooo

HelderHughes

Results just in:

Auto Correct – 3
AubaBomba – 0

Auba auba Laca Partey

FA cup anyone?

Andy

I’ve seen bullocks with more football sense than Xhaka

Spanish Gooner

Nobody is saying he should already be bringing in trophies or guaranteeing top 4, but it’s not unreasonable to expect to be in the top half of the premier league with 10 games left. How have our standards dropped so low as a fan base?

Nikolaj

Is 4 games in the span of 2 weeks really that much? Shouldn’t a team like Arsenal be fully capable of fielding the strongest team possible in 2 competitions at the same time?

JackofAll

In terms of recovery time in an overcrowded season, most teams would have to rotate. We don’t have a strong enough squad all over but picking the same 11 players four games in a row that close together is probably a bad idea. They might make it through the matches but by the third and fourth are unlikely to be performing at anything like their best

Appels&Pere

With the world falling apart, the state the club was handed to him, the financial issues and the quality(or lack there of in a lot of positions) of players that he inherited, you’d be stupid to say he hasn’t had a very positive impact. It’ll take time to build a sustainable and winning culture. Yes we still have shitty performances, but less of them, more goals, nore attacking, better defence, better moral. We are clearly headed in a very positive direction.

Naked Cygan

We are a better team than last year??? We finished 8th last season, won the FA Cup. This season we are 10th, and out of the FA Cup. In 5 years or 10 years, these are the numbers that we will remember. No one will care if we played better but finished lower and lower. The table does not lie! Let’s get a proper manager like Chelsea did. None of this BS ex-player crap Euphoria. Lampard was not good enough for Chelsea, Gerrad will never be good enough for Liverpool if they get rid of Klopp, OGS will not win… Read more »

Andy

Biggest mistake these owners have made was not getting Ancelloti when he was available. To this day I don’t understand the thinking.

Naked Cygan

I hear you. I was shocked we passed on Ancelloti over Arteta. It all goes back to the Ex-player BS Euphoria. We all love Arteta, we all love Henry, but they are not proven managers to get us regularly into the top 4 and fix all of our other issues.

Biggles

The clamour for Henry to be appointed a while ago (and the same was true for Adams going further back) supports that theory as you say. Very few “top” players make “top” managers anyway (whether they are former players with a particular club or not) – Pep and Zidane come to mind, but there aren’t that many. That doesn’t mean Arteta won’t become a good manager of course but if we look at what Everton are doing now under Ancelloti we can see the size of the coup that they pulled off with his appointment.

jimbo

There was never any clamour for Adams to be appointed manager.
Stop talking bollocks

Salibaba and the Forty Thieves

Dear Andy,

The Arsenal Board of Directors and the rest of the Executive were trying to save money. Arteta is reportedly on less than half the pre-tax salary of Ancelotti.

The cynic in me says that’s the reason why he’s getting this amount of support.

Kindest Regards.
Salibaba

Spanish Gooner

In fairness Gerrard looks an excellent manager if this season is anything to go by

Biggles

He’s done well with Rangers but in a very “restricted” league where, basically, it’s down to two sides most of the time and Celtic couldn’t keep winning the league for ever. How well he’d fair in, say, the PL remains to be seen but I’m sure he’ll get an opportunity at some stage.

Kentish Gooner

I can see where he’s coming from. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a game where we’ve lost by more than one goal this season. BUT, we’re dropping points all over the place because we’re always a goal or two from taking a point or even three. Consistency is key, but I don’t see that happening at all this season based on all the rotations that are having to be made.

btw

Aston Villa

Headinthecloudz

The thing I find annoying is that I can see Arteta’s rotations are arbitrary. There is no footballing rational to keep choosing players who underperform or who regularly stink the place out, when there are are good, hungry players like Martinelli who are left to rot on the bench. I am losing faith in the man.

Spanish Gooner

One argument I keep seeing on articles like this is “what can Arteta do when our players are so shit?” So I asked a couple of my rival supporting friends who the scapegoats are in their teams, and it turns out all of them have fans that make the same argument. Lots of United fans think McTominay, Shaw, De Gea, Martial and Fred are shit, many Chelsea fans are sick of Kepa, Rudiger and Jorginho, Sp*rs fans often think Dier, Lloris, Alli and Alderwiereld are past it, etc. The point is: all teams have limited players, and the manager’s job… Read more »

tom

You have a good point in there and yet… Put another way, how many of our 25 man squad would you say is 1st team material? Sure, every team has a “1st and 2nd” team idea but really, when you break it down, the best teams have maybe a 1st 16, lesser teams a 1st 15 or 14? Players who can interchange fairly easily, without too much drop in performance. The rest of the 25 man squad are kids hoping for a break or guys making a nice penny before they retire. With that in mind…What do we have? Personally… Read more »

Nostalgic Gooner

The only thing that matters is where we’re on the table, and where we finish end of season. It’s funny that Wenger worst years are better than Arteta’s best, despite Arteta having gotten all the players he asked for (Partey, Willian, Mari, Cedric, Ceballos, Odegaard etc) and having rid the club of those he didn’t like (Mesuit, Socratis, Guendozi etc). The football is as dull as it was under Emery, and in my worst nightmares, I’d never have imagined a Moyes’ managed West Ham in the top 4 with Arsenal in 10th 😂