“I want to build and create” – Arteta outlines plans after admitting to mistakes

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As he starts his inquest into Arsenal’s difficult campaign, Mikel Arteta admits he’s made mistakes.

After winning the FA Cup in August, just eight months after taking charge at the Emirates, the Spaniard claimed that the Gunners were capable of winning titles.

While the addition of the Community Shield ensured optimism was carried into his first full season, Arsenal’s form quickly tailed off before Christmas to the point we were looking over our shoulders at the relegation zone.

While the first team squad has rallied since the turn of the year, our erratic home form has proved costly both on the domestic front and in Europe. While there’s still an outside chance the Gunners could qualify for the inaugural Europa Conference League, realistically, we won’t qualify for a UEFA competition for the first time since the mid-nineties.

Ahead of Wednesday’s penultimate game of the season at Crystal Palace, Arteta said: “I want to reflect in the next week or so when we finish, but I’m sure that I’ve done a lot of things wrong, 100 per cent I can tell you now before going through it.

“So how am I going to make much better decisions, get the best out of these players, out of this football club and the resources that we have.

“I have spent a lot of time and effort identifying critical points to change, then how those changes are going to be made [and] in what timeframe we can do them. I want to spend time building, creating and with all the foundations that we have in place now, evolve the team, the club, everything, the way we want to do it.

“I want a pre-season where we can work with the players and create. I am a really creative person, I want to create and evolve and a lot of time since I came here, it’s been to determine and make some very, very difficult decisions where I’ve had to undo [what’s gone on before].

“I want to do more, more, more and more because the capacity that we have to do it is incredible. I’m so excited about that. I see that moment where there’s a lot of change to be a big opportunity for our future.”

Put to him, somewhat hyperbolically, that he’s a footballing Picasso, Arteta responded: “I’m not saying that. I’m saying that I love to create.

“There are a lot of good things we’ve done since we changed many things, but there is still a lot to do, a lot to catch up but the potential is incredible.

“I can see the ambition from the club first and when I can see that type of ambition we have an incredible margin to achieve what we want.”

You certainly can’t fault the manager’s enthusiasm. In the coming weeks and months, he has to turn that energy into something tangible. If he doesn’t, then we all know that football has a canny habit of pulling the rug out from under you.

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Johnny 4 Hats

Although part of me is happy that the likes of Xhaka and Willian want out of the club because the squad does need an overhaul and it’s always easier to sell players who wish to leave. But it does worry me that none of these players are buying into the Arteta vision and deem Arsenal to be a club they can’t see themselves being successful at. I dread to think what Auba is thinking right about now. Yes, it’ll be good to lose some of these expensive squad members but it doesn’t fill me with confidence about Arteta’s ability to… Read more »

matt keeler

The reason the likes of Willian and Xhaka want out is we have no European football next season.
No doubt it’ll hurt them in the pocket so they want to move on, nothing to do with ‘culture’ or vision of the coach.
We need young, quality, dynamic replacements who want to pull this team back into the Champions League.

Johnny 4 Hats

You might be right. I think a lot of the senior players will be considering their options due to their finite time in the game.

But we do need some older lads to support the young players and I just think if players like Xhaka, Leno and possibly Auba have one foot in and one foot out, then that’s a lot of big characters to have who are uncertain about this project.

Daveo

If they have one foot in and one foot out, push the other one out and get guys in who’ll do the full hokey pokey and not just stop halfway, because that’s what it’s all about.

Naigooner

It says a lot about Xhaka that fans now dread him leaving. Man was almost cyber lynched just a few months back.

Andy

i’m not dreading it. i’m so excited we are finally seeing the back of so much of the dross that has been hanging around the club for the past number of years.

goonero

Who “dreads” Xhaka leaving? People worry about the club doing nothing to replace his position, not about missing whatever nebulous qualities people have stockholmed themselves into believing Xhaka has after being held hostage by him for 6 years.

Qwaliteee

The guy is vastly overrated. Mr Bang Average at best. The Swiss Frank Spencer at worst.

Dennis Elbow

Or they may have got word that they are not needed anymore because they’re crap.

Tapps

I agree, but where do we find 8 more Kieran Tierneys?

Daveo

Tesco has a sale on them right now.

Dennis Elbow

I like the Keiran Tierney in peppercorn sauce.

Qwaliteee

Tesco’s own.

Chopra_Gooner

I agree with you. I believe that we should follow the Dortmund model. Buy or develop an exciting young team that plays with energy and passion.

Qwaliteee

If Willian and Xhaka both went tomorrow on a free, it would be a good days work.

Those two highly expensive clowns are a major reason why this club is currently mid table.

Biggles

I’m not sure how easy we’re going to find it to sell William and Xhaka. I doubt either will leave, even if they are open to leaving, for a substantial pay cut – particularly in William’s case with two years left on an apparently very generous contract. Anyway, we’ll see. It’s a fair point about “buying into the vision” but the way around that is to bring in players who do. The drawback is it will take time – and I don’t think Arteta has much of that, perhaps only next season, to show distinct signs of a turnaround. Activity… Read more »

Biggles

*(just) Willian

Johnny 4 Hats

I will also say in Arteta’s defence that I think the Arsenal job is one of the toughest gigs in town. You get no money, a group of players you can’t shift and unbelievably high expectations. I feel for the guy. But look at someone like Messi at Barca who, despite being treated like shit, has actually began to relish the opportunity of bringing through a crop of exciting youngsters. He might think that he’ll never win another trophy with them but is enjoying being a custodian to the club and its players. I can’t see any of our boys… Read more »

Atom

Arteta appears from the outside to be an extremely demanding micro manager. That tends to only work if you’re getting results as otherwise it’s just grating to work for someone like that.

Johnny 4 Hats

I feel like he really tried to appease the senior players in the early stages of the season. Auba, Willian and Laca all featured heavily and seemed undroppable. But he’s realised these players are actually less likely to turn a good performance than the youth lads. So as the season has progressed we’ve seen senior players, including Leno, dropped. I’m not sure this has gone down well. But at the end of the day, you pick the players most likely to produce. And Saka, ESR and Martinelli are far more likely to pull a result out of the bag than… Read more »

Daveo

First thing he should be doing is apologising to Saliba and getting him back on board. A massive talent that needs to be a big part of our plans next season.

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

Arteta gets the blame for that?

Heavenly Chapecoense

Arteta’s job is the easiest gig in town. You fail and don’t get fired straight away.

goonshow

An enduring lesson in sport – just about any sport – is that no-one, but no-one, is indispensable. Certainly, great players can leave a hole that takes time (and/or money) to fill – but it is invariably filled… and often sooner than one might think. Equally often, from a less likely (or less fancied/obvious) source. Do Arsenal currently have any such ‘great’ players? Personally, I feel the blessing hiding inside our cursed season is that we don’t have many – how many of our current, established (i.e. who been with us for a few seasons) senior crop would truly leave… Read more »

Timorous Me

There may be a few guys who want out, but contrary to this, the Athletic recently reported that there is a “cult-like” following of Arteta among many of the players, and that even as people around them try to turn them against Arteta, they’re unwavering in their belief of him and his plan. Who knows if that’s a good thing in the long run, but it makes it easier to understand how the team bounced back from the Villareal disappointment to put in such a tireless effort against Chelsea, and that makes you think it could bode well for us… Read more »

Gooner44

Glad to hear him admit he’s made mistakes. You cannot move forward without honest introspection.

B.O.B

Correct…now we wait to find out if lessons have been learnt

B.O.B

I hope behind the scenes…some tough questions are being asked of him and Edu…..its like they got a free pass this season…now Arteta needs to show it in action..not via beautiful words…game management and Squad management has been terrible.

Goonersrus

I don’t really understand why Edu gets a lot of slack, at the end of the transfer window in October we were happy with his summer transfers, it not him nor Arteta’s fault that the people in charge of transfers prior to when they arrived at the club left the squad bloated with a shit ton of over paid players. I’ll agree Willian’s transfer was a FLOP. However, that’s just with hindsight, prior to the season start I was happy with it because I believed we were getting an experienced winner that would reduce the work load on players like… Read more »

goonshow

I think you mean ‘flak’ ? The axe many are grinding here is that Edu’s has indeed received too much ‘slack’ !

nullvinho

I want to trust MA, and I know that he can’t not answer when asked a question. But I’ve heard enough of the talk. At the very least, I want to see MA get more out of Pepe, rehabilitate and coach Saliba to greater heights, and build around Smith-Rowe, Saka, and Martinelli.

Javoroncov

Less talk, more actions please.
Play our youth more. Dont let their value nosedive. Dont play wash-up Chelshit rejects or one-season shitty Real loanees. Play more ambitious soccer. Stop retreating to a shell at 1 0 up. Be forgiving with young players, they make mistakes.

Goonersrus

I feel like our fans are hypocritical though, you play young players you should expect the drop in form, and for us to potentially not even finish in the top half like we probably will this season. What would be said about MA if such happened. The questions would be asked why he didn’t play the experienced players etc. Essentially we would never be happy unless we’re challenging for the title so let’s not use the ‘play younger players’ line because we know that if he did we probably wouldn’t be happy still

Warthog

Very true and a great point. The truth is, our senior players let MA down this year in a big way. Once the youth got healthy they were integrated in, but we lost Top 6 in the first half and that is on the senior players. Credit should also be given to our January business for improving our 2nd half.

Javoroncov

The problem is MA keep playing the same shitty senior players game after game while showing no such tolerance for youth.
I dont know how long you have been watching Arsenal but I have endured Jeffers, Senderos, Djourou and Denilson.I will not complain about shit results if MA is building towards something or a long term project like Wenger. Ask yourself what project it is playing mustafi while loaning saliba, or shoving willian into the team?

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

You can’t play a season like this without using your entire squad, and its a dangerous game overplaying your youngsters. If we’d broken ESR and Saka then Arteta would be getting complaints that he’d overplayed them, and to be honest I think he’s come pretty close to doing that with Saka. Our season could easily have been a lot worse than it was.

Fatgooner

The sad fact is that Arteta is out of his depth and should go this summer. The manager of Arsenal Football Club is a post that he isn’t good enough to fill right now. If we had proper senior management and ownership then the decision would already have been made. But we don’t.

My guess is that he’ll start badly again next season and be struggling in mid table by Christmas. Then he’ll belatedly be dismissed.

I just hope that they don’t give him any money to waste this summer. We could do with every penny.

Frank Bascombe

Congratulations on winning the ‘Fake Alf Garnett of the Decade’ award. It’s complete and utter drivel, every single time you post.

Fabregooner

If he’s out of his depth how do you explain that Arsenal are 4th in the table if we start at matchday 16 (Boxing Day)? The fact is, Arteta has made us much more competitive in the second half of the season and 4th is excellent. If you expect us to compete with Man City you are deluded.

Fabregooner

I’d also add that in several games this year we have actually been pretty unlucky (particularly the Wolves game) which would have seen us even higher and easily in Europe. The damage to our league position was obviously done in the early matches when we were admittedly terrible

Qwaliteee

……And will continue to be terrible until such a time that a decent manager with suitable experience, a knowledge of the game and a manifesto for playing attractive attacking football is employed.

Not an arrogant novice who bores us all to death with his pressers and on-pitch tripe.

Fatgooner

Terrible team selections, buying Willian, our worst home record since the 70s.. Need I go on?

goonshow

Please don’t

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

All of it on Arteta? All of it?

EmileSmithWhoa

I love me some Arteta. IMO He wants to manage like Pep, very specific style, very demanding. Our ownership is different as are almost all clubs. A few at the top violate FFP rules, manipulate and have insane team depth. We do not fit that model financially. Also, AFC fans are IMO spoiled and entitled. On the whole we drive managers and players to leave or play poorly. Without club depth and with piss poor minority but very influential fans I see us as competitive most times if we are not in Europe. I see us struggle in a really… Read more »

Qwaliteee

But we’re not 4th – we’re mid table. The league is based over 38 games, not from wherever it suits your agenda. This is Arsenal Football Club. We have a name steeped in history, a global fan base and a billionaire owner. We therefore, as fans, have every right to expect this club to compete with Manchester City. That it doesn’t isn’t down to ‘deluded’ supporters . It’s down to the blatant mismanagement of an absent owner and his inability to employ suitable executive staff to maintain and oversee the running and further improvement of the club – especially the… Read more »

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

History hasn’t bloody well scored any goals for us this season. He’s rubbish.

Hank Scorpio

That’s an arbitrary selection. If you start 5 matchdays either side we are 6th. We are 7th from matchday 29 onwards & if you look at the entire season as the key measure we’ll finish around 8th. Far too much credit for a man who marginalised our only available # 10 to effectively cut off his nose to spite his face with all those games where we aimlessly lobbed in crosses. He accidentally stumbled across the solution in ESR in the AM role. Whatever lessons he claims to have learned, I can only hope it involves better player management, team… Read more »

goonshow

It would be great if you could post on here your notes from the arbitration sessions you sat in on? I mean the ones between Arteta and Ozil – you were clearly there since you seem to have such intimate knowledge of exactly what and how things went down?

Hank Scorpio

What nonsense are you talking about? Arteta chose to go half a season without our only available # 10. Instead he thought Ceballos or Willian would cut it. We were horrible and had no central presence in the advanced midfield role. Hence the mindless and ineffective crossing we all remember only too well. Arteta’s deliberate choice left the squad horribly unbalanced. What does this have to do with arbitration sessions?

Fabregooner

Why is it arbitrary to want to see if we have improved in the second half of the season? We all know they started off badly, but have they improved? Answer: yes (based purely on points accrued).

Hank Scorpio

You’ve completely missed the point. Your match day 16 selection to support your claim is no more valid than the ones (11,21,29) I used to disprove it.

Ndouzi

You’re the deluded one if you think the assessment of what MA has done should start at match day 16. Match days 1-15 count where?

Fabregooner

Why is it deluded to say, “I think we started to improve around matchday 16 (home to Chelsea) so let’s see if this is really true by comparing to all the other teams in the EPL during this time?” And low and behold, when you do that comparison, we are better than all but 3 of of them? Maybe that doesn’t fit your agenda but it’s objectively true.

goonshow

You have it arse about face mate… ‘if we had proper senior management and ownership’ our young, inexperienced but committed and intelligent manager would have been given the support and mentoring he needs!

John C

I really don’t know what fellow Arsenal fan’s expect and under what time line they expect it? For me, any manager taking over from the shit show left by Wenger and Gazidiz needed at least 2 full seasons before i was prepared to make a judgement on their performance. 3 years in we haven’t had a manager that’s met those requirements. The club has had to completely rebuild its management structure since those 2 left and we need to give whomever we give the the job to the time to see if it’s working. And results on the pitch unfortunately… Read more »

Biggles

There’s an element of truth in that. The club was obviously in decline under Wenger, which is why he was sacked. That decline certainly hasn’t been stopped, let alone been reversed, since but as you say it will take time. It’s not all doom and gloom (although there’s still a lot to be negative about). Several of the expensive “passengers” from the Wenger era have finally been offloaded, although at great cost. More promising youngsters are coming though. Hopefully, there will be additional resources available in the summer, although much greater care will be needed in how any extra money… Read more »

John C

The decline has stopped, Wenger left us 37 points off 1st and 12 from the top 4, we’re currently 28 from Man City and 9 points off 4th, so that is, in terms of points an improvement. Emery brought us back to 1 point off the Champions league spots but was duly sacked, prematurely in my opinion as it was clear, as you put it, the expensive passengers that needed to leave. It appears to me that the 2 managers we’ve appointed have both come across as being 1) the cheap option and subsequently 2) flawed. Emery’s lack of English… Read more »

Qwaliteee

The decline has stopped….?!!🤣

We were in danger of falling into the relegation zone this season.

Goonersrus

This is how I feel. So many of our fans are ‘in the moment’. They lack to see that the rotten core at the club had been planned/purchased over half a decade ago. If we sacked MA all that would happen would the cycle would restart again. If we truly want to progress knowing our owners will not invest in the club we need to look at how Dortmund manage their club. They plan the squad around their club’s identity and higher a manager who plays a similar style to how they aspire to play. Not have Wenger who plays… Read more »

goonshow

Excellent post mate

Giuseppe Hovno

I agree mostly except with: Partey not being “good at getting the ball from defence forward”. When I watch him play, he looks great at that!

Qwaliteee

More Wenger-Bashing bollocks.

Three Premiership titles, seven FA Cups, two League and Cup Doubles, our first ECL Final, top four for two decades and an entire league season unbeaten.

And you call that a ‘Shit Show’ as opposed to the utter dross that we’ve had to put up with this season…..?

Staggering levels of ignorance.

John C

Fantastic work up until 2006, but he really should have left after the Champions League final or at the very latest 2011 after the 8-2 hammering to Utd.

Hubris, a guaranteed pay cheque and the arrogance of building a club in his image kept him at the club far too long.

A Different George

I don’t want to debate the Wenger issue in general, but do you honestly believe he stayed too long because of the “guaranteed paycheck?”

And, on a related point, do you think Wenger was lying when he claimed that the bankers who financed the new stadium insisted that he stay? (Wasn’t that exactly when he was most in demand at other clubs? What would PSG have payed Wenger in 2011?)

John C

Yes, although i don’t believe money was the motivating factor. I believe he stayed because he was given complete autonomy to work as he wished and had an effective tenured position. And i don’t believe him when he says the bankers insisted he stayed, 1) because i don’t believe he would have been present during discussion with Arsenal’s bankers and 2) it doesn’t sound remotely plausible that Arsenal’s business plan was otherwise so flawed that hundreds of millions of pounds were secured on the back the signature of the manager. That’s just not how banks work out risk. I can… Read more »

Eddy F

A squad reduction exercise is necessary. With no European football, we need a squad of 23 max.

GK – 3
CB – 4
RB – 2
LB – 2
CM – 4
AM – 2
RM – 2
LM – 2
CF – 2

Players that can cover multiple positions are valuable in a smaller squad.

Sell, sell, sell and buy 2-3 players in necessary positions (LB, CM).

Okester

Looking ahead to next season, I wouldn’t mind seeing the following players (4-3-3 formation)

GK – Leno if still about
LB – KT
CB Saliba and Gab
RB – AMN (unless he’s not happy in which case a new signing)

Mid – ESR, Partey + New signing (don’t think any of other crop good enough to see us challenge higher up the table)

LW Martinelli
CF Auba
RW Saka

Bench
Ryan
Willock and Pepe
Holding and Mari back up centre backs
Wouldn’t mind seeing what Balugon can do at least up until Jan window

Hank Scorpio

I don’t think it will be that easy to sell, sell, sell. Teams will want top dollar for their players and pay as little as possible for purchases. That may be true in general, but even more so in the current climate. Just hoping we don’t end up keeping a bunch of players that wanted to leave. Agreed, a backup LB, sorting the centre of midfield and also RB and backup for ESR are priorities.

Baichung Bhutia

My first thought was Arteta can afford to be less creative and do the simple things well. Dont overthink things – we aren’t Manchester City. Also allow the attacking players to be more creative and give them more freedom.

Cultured Determination

Mistakes
Signing willian
Signing cedric
Playing willian
Leaving out saliba
Not playing a no.10 when we clearly needed a no.10, resulting in,crap football
Strikerless first leg
Sticking to the same old shit that didn’t work Pre,Christmas

Feel free to add guys. Help,mikel with his list

FabulousFabregas

The false nine experiment
Blowing the Europa league chance
Making more in game changes

Red'n'White

Being a coach myself, I know that if I can’t improve nmy athletes in 18months I am not worth my salt. Having said that, I lile Arteta, he has imagination, but need to be more flexible with players I think and set the record straight with no favorites, but form based and not rotate the squad at 80% every week. Find your 7-8 backbone players, and play them day in day out. How did they manage that in the 80s? Re: Willian. His stats at Chelsea in his last season there were outstanding, he just didn’t deliver at Arsenal. Arsenal… Read more »

Baz

I doubt KSE are going to make any changes this summer. Let’s just hope he has learnt some harsh lessons.

So many points dropped this season due to individual errors. If we can change up the personnel somewhat perhaps cut out the stupid mistakes then we will do better next season and perhaps things will start to look a bit brighter.

One thing is for sure though, he needs to start trusting the youth more, they are the only ones performing.

Henry

Get back Willock,buy Odigaard from Real,keep Saliba, buy a good left back. One world class central mid fielder and we are good to go. Keep both Auba and Lacca

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

Sounds so simple when you write it all down in a list. It isn’t.

Good left backs go to teams playing in the CL. Nearly as good players go to teams in the Europa League. Real will keep Odegaard or sell him on to a bigger team than us. All the world class midfielders will want to play for world class clubs. Auba and Laca will both be a year older and a year slower.

Steve Dracula

Surely nobody is buying into this power speak nonsense anymore.

goonshow

Big words from Arteta… firstly, admitting to making mistakes (many of them, in his words) and secondly, committing to learn from them.
However – until next season starts, and transfers, team-sheets and tactics begin to reveal themselves, they will remain just that – words.

Nonetheless – whatever he might be, he does not strike as a bullshitter, nor a sales-schpiel merchant. So let’s remain positive and watch this space.

LEFT08

Arteta is a terrible man manager. He has wronged, been strict and unfair with players since day one. I wouldn’t trust him to turn things around. Having said that, he is not the problem at Arsenal, the problem remains Kroenke’s ownership. KSE has destroyed the club over many years and the worse is yet to come. Down vote all you like, this is the truth.

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

He has the support of the almost the entire squad. He’s a damn good man manager. As an in-game manager he’s still learning though.

Kroenke has all but ruined Arsenal in the short time he has been controlling it. Since we lost Wenger we’ve had nobody fighting in our corner against his greed and carelessness.

RobBalding

which idiot called Arteta a Picasso of football ?

arseblog

Moose from TalkSport

Grimster

More like a Lego Master Builder. Artruvius perhaps.