“It’s not where we want to be” – Arteta reflects on Arsenal’s season

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Since Arsenal beat Chelsea 3-1 on Boxing Day last year only Manchester City and Manchester United have claimed more Premier League points. It’s a state of affairs that is quite hard to believe when you consider the Gunners head into the final game of the season sitting ninth in the table.

For manager Mikel Arteta, the run of five defeats, five draws and 13 wins – four of which have come on the bounce in recent weeks – is proof that Arsenal can compete with the top division’s big guns but he admits it’s now up to him and his squad to prove they can do it over an entire season.

“Yes, it [our form] is very good but the league is played over 38 games,” said Arteta ahead of Sunday’s clash with Brighton.

“But at least it shows that we are able to do it and when we have a little bit more of a normal context, more normal situations, I am very positive about what we can do, but at the end of the day we are judged on what we have done over the whole season and it is not, for sure, where we want to be.”

While the Gunners could finish the campaign with 61 points – five more than we accumulated last season – our failings in the early part of the season have been very costly.

“Yes, there’s a lot of things from September to December that are contributing to that,” noted Arteta. “I don’t believe it was just one issue. There were a lot of things in that period.

On whether those issues have been eliminated, he added: “This is my job. To identify, to be very critical with myself first and then try to analyse and find out why things happened. Whether that’s negative or positive. If it’s positive, let’s keep doing a lot of the good things that we are doing.”

Having been a goal away from the Europa League final and a final shot at qualifying for the Champions League, the ‘best’ the Gunners can now hope for is a seventh-place finish that would sneak us into the newly former Europa Conference League.

Debate is rife as to whether the club would be better off out of Europe altogether with fears that participation in a third-tier continental competition could be an unwelcome distraction from the Premier League.

Asked for his view on the ECL, Arteta said: “It’s a new competition so I don’t really know what will happen. First of all, let’s try to finish as high as possible and then after we will determine, once we are involved, what the best way is to do it.

He added: “We have experienced in the last few years how tough being in the Europa League is with the amount of games you play and the short turnaround that you have all the time in the Premier League.

“I think there is a lot of history there with teams that have been involved in the Europa League, and the negative consequences that has in the Premier League positions. But we’ve tried to give it the best possible go, we came a little bit short, but this club has to be in Europe.”

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Bill Hall

And for all our defensive failings we have actually conceded the third fewest goals this season as well. It’s in attack where we have really messed up this season!

Biggles

Yes, too few goals, too few shots on target. Hopefully, we may get some from Willock- if he’s given a fair run, but the position on strikers will need looking at.

IamaGoober

Thing is, the defensive solidity means absolutely nothing if you can’t score. We play with so much structure now that it hugely limits us going forward, and makes us fairly predictable to the opposition. I appreciate I am stating the obvious here because we’ve been watching it all season. But that’s what’s been going on. My major concern with Arteta is the underlying data is bad, consistently. Every single game we are out performed in terms of xG by our opponents, even when we win. To make a comparison, in the early days of Emery’s run he got the Arsenal… Read more »

loose_cannon

Yeah, but if we had Martinez…

gunnertron

Imagine what a few more those Martinelli, and Pepe extra time goals would have done for our season. This season would have a whole different flavour.

Nacho de Montreal is tasty

We’re ninth, that’s all that matters. Maybe,
relegated teams were the best three at successful crosses or something.

David Hilliers Arm Cast

Putting on a useless Willian and thinking that would get us goals was MA’s biggest fault this season. His insistence on using out of form players because they are “vets” f’d us.

BODMAS

Arteta is not interested in the conference call competition. Just draw the last game. F spurs. Arsenal matter most

Bergkamp2Wright

Best result IMO: spuds lose, we win and Everton win so Everton gets the shitty conference and we get a reset season to build with no wanky trips to but fuck nowhere every Thursday!

The best result is Arsenal in Europe.

Bergkamp2Wright

In your opinion.

Db412

Do we have an option to decline the invitation to the conference league in the same way fergie did with the fa cup one year?😂

Fabregooner

I say play our youths and don’t send Arteta out of North London. There’s surely no rule that the manager has to turn up?

Ealing

Klopp and Liverpool first team didn’t turn up for a game

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Arteta and Auba should go to take responsibility for being in European Conference.

Andy

Tbf to the red-nosed lunatic, the FA told United to fuck off to the World Club nonsense, so we could get the Olympics in England.

Daveo

What’s this “normal context bullshit” there is nothing normal about our current run of form. We did it when basically all chance of qualifying in Europe was lost. Sorry but enough of the excuses of “no fans” (same for all teams), “we’re amazing after christmas” (we were fucking rubbish before christmas and even after miles behind the leaders and there is no award for doing nice in the 2nd half), ïnjuries” (did we even have it that bad with injuries? I seem to think we did pretty well over the season compared to what is normal at Arsenal). Also enough… Read more »

Canadagoon

If you read through the text from his interviews over the past month you’ll read plenty of what you asked for about it being his responsibility to get more out of the players

Man Manny

Amazing. That is 44 points from 23 games! If that form had been across the entire season, we’d have been in the top 4 (approx. 69 points from 37 games). I know Arteta will still be on the saddle next year, but the nagging feeling for me is, could a more experienced manager get better results with this team? Burnley – home and away; Fulham at home; Wolves away; Everton at home, were games we could have raked in many more points than we did. I hope we do better next season. One thing this tells me is that, apart… Read more »

Biggles

Hopefully you’re right. Like you, I think Arteta will be in charge (and so will Stan, in my opinion). Realistically, we must try for a EL qualifying place in 2021-22.

Martin R

Realistically we must challenge for a Champions League place and at least one trophy. Our form after Boxing Day and with hopefully some new signings indicates that we could have a much improved season.

Biggles

But you’re assuming that while we could have a “much improved season” in 2021-22 (which I hope we will), enough of the other teams above us won’t and they’ll decline or just stand still – helpfully allowing us into the top 4. Not sure about that. If we’re talking “realistic”, I’ll stick by an EL qualifying place as the target.

atom

We’ll have 1 game a week. Most years a team with that profile has made a serious run at the CL & a couple at the title. We won’t be winning the title but if we don’t make a real run at the CL next year it will be a real failure. Our first 11 should be strong enough for that and we can more or less play them every game now.

Canadagoon

Agree, it worked wonders for Chelsea and Liverpool. Let’s see if we end up on Conference League jaunts

Naigooner

MA will certainly be more experienced with one more year under his belt. I believe he’ll definitely get better results next season.

Gervinhothegoat

Oh so if we eliminate the part of the season where we weren’t in form and had bad results we’d be in top 4.
I wonder how many points all the other teams would have if they just took into account the part of the season they had a good run and forgot about the other 15 games?

Futsboller

Well, as of Boxing Day, City are in 8th, with 26 points, and people are saying Pep is done. I think we know what kind of a second half they’ve had since then. Perspective can be informative.

Man Manny

That is the issue with stats: you can twist it whithersoever you want.
Arteta recently pointed to our improved results against the big teams as sign of progress.
But he ignored our recent poor performances against the lesser teams which more or less offset whatever gains we might have made.

Timorous Me

I think the better (more realistic but hopeful) way of looking at it is that this is a large enough sample size to indicate that we are trending in the right direction, that Arteta is figuring some things out. You can’t erase that bad stretch before Boxing Day (and clearly most fans won’t forget as Arteta hasn’t been able to win them back since), but unlike Emery’s first season with the club, where the team trended the wrong direction in the second half and the momentum continued all downhill through the summer and into the fall, this is an opportunity… Read more »

atom

If you want to be extremely positive you can point to the fact that our points total the 2nd half of the season was much better than the first (we were on relegation form the first 1/2). However we’ve struggled with the exact same thing the entire year – we don’t create chances and rely on moments of magic largely from 18 year olds to win games. The players still seem incredibly risk averse with us leading the league in passes backwards & constantly slowing the game down. That hasn’t improved even as our record has. We’ve also crumbled when… Read more »

Futsboller

Atom, you said back in December that if Arteta could turn things around and get some results, and score some goals, you’d get on board with our manager. We’ve done that, and yet you balk. We’ve scored the third-most goals in the league since Boxing Day — more than your coveted Liverpool, more than Chelsea, more than everyone except for City and United. Seriously. We have no 18-year-olds currently creating magic in the PL, but more to the point: Saka hasn’t scored since January and ESR and Martinelli have 2 each since January. Lacazette, Auba and Pepe have scored the… Read more »

Atom

I don’t see real progress from Arteta. I see a team where the record has improved from what was relegation form. The style of football is terrible & the team has performed far less than the sum of their parts.

You’re putting way too much stock in this idea that we were the form team in the 2nd half of the year. It’s similar to when Emery went on a long run but the performances told you that wouldn’t keep up.

Futsboller

You said quite clearly that you’d need to see an improvement in form, goals, and results — Arteta has done that since Boxing Day. The numbers are there, a guide to form that suggests were we to continue this “terrible” football through next season we would achieve 73 points in the league. That’s top 4 football over the past three seasons. Emery achieved an excellent run with Arsenal, and then everything fell apart, and it was clear that he couldn’t put it back to together and had lost the team. No sense at all during his time that he was… Read more »

Atom

I said I needed to see material progress that we were headed in the right direction. The defense is solid but the team absolutely doesn’t create chances baring moments of individual brilliance, largely at the end of games when the game plan goes out the window. We constantly play the ball sideways or backwards, giving the opposition time to reset. That has been a problem the entire season. We’re an extremely poorly coached team – see the Villarreal tie where Emery coached Arteta off the park. Don’t you think just maybe given how poor this season was it’s not just… Read more »

Naigooner

Good point.

Rich

Hopefully we win on Sunday, if the Europa conference is the price we have to pay to finish above Spurs, then so be it

Send Steve Bould with the under 23s and squad players who need minutes, leaving Arteta on the training ground with the other players

I seen someone say that if Chelsea drop out of the top4, but win the CL final, then 7th will go into the Europa league

Is that right?

Nainsley Aitland Miles

I seen someone say that if Chelsea drop out of the top4, but win the CL final, then 7th will go into the Europa league
Is that right?

No that’s not right.

Salibaba and the Forty Thieves

No only a maximum of 7 English teams can be in European competition spots.

With the EPL table alone. It’s 4 – Champions League, 2 – Europa League and 1 – Conference League = 7 teams.

If Chelsea don’t get top 4 but win the Champions League. It would become 5 – Champions League, 2 – Europa, 0 – Conference League = 7 teams.

So 7th place MIGHT not be enough to get a European spot but 8th place is DEFINITELY not enough to get a European spot at all.

Gervinhothegoat

7th gets conference league regardless of the result of the champions League final

JOELBMTH

At last a modicum of truth from the Arsenal “Manager”.I suppose that it would be too much to now ask for a modicum of respect and common decency and ask him to fall on his sword and resign from a job that is plainly more than he’s capable of handling.

Martin R

What has happened since Boxing Day proves that Arteta is on the right road and must’ve give more time. Have you ever heard of a top manager ever resign, especially when he loves the club and improving the team.

Daveo

Umm…Arsene Wenger?

Biggles

Wrong. Wenger didn’t resign – he was sacked (because he wasn’t improving the team).

Daveo

Officially he resigned. He released a resignation letter. Unofficially he was probably told now would be a good time to resign.

Biggles

He certainly said afterwards that it wasn’t a time of his choosing and he/his staff were paid off for the remaining year of their contracts (a reported £17.5million). Anyway, I think we can all agree they didn’t go when they wanted to.

Martin R

That was after his contract ran out and I genuinely believe it was a mutual decision.

Biggles

Well, Wenger had one year left on his contract when he went (which is why he received a £11 million pay off from the club). You’re right in that, initially, it was thought he had left early by mutual consent but afterwards Wenger is quoted as saying that he left “not at a time of my choosing.”

Atom

It’s been made clear by former players & even Wenger himself he was sacked. Sad to see it end like that but was also pretty clear he wasn’t ever going to resign.

Daniel

I think there have been teething problems but there’s something about Arteta that I think we’re starting to see glimpses of

Gervinhothegoat

Did you see these glimpses in the matches that mattered when the pressure was on? We completely fucked our season in the league before the new year and despite numerous chances to get back in the race for top 4 or even top 6 because everyone around us were doing their best to give us a chance at it. Every time the pressure was on we blew it Wolves and villa away. Fulham and Everton at home. Are 2 examples. We threw away the cup by making 8 changes v Southampton. We completely shit out pants when the pressure was… Read more »

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Since Boxing Day, Newcastle was the team that scored more goals in the PL during injury time. It proves Bruce is…….

onenil

…lucky to have Willock!

Andrea

Sold the wrong keeper

Martin R

True and arguably a great mistake but so was Wenger with Szczesny. However we must learn to live with a dodgy keeper or hopefully sell him and bring in an improvement

Nainsley Aitland Miles

If we had Martinez instead of Leno, I really don’t think that would have had any significant impact on our season.

Der32

Martinez is better with his feet. Makes better and more decisive passing decisions. He’s a better GK for Arteta’s football, and our results with Martinez in goal last year proves this.

Qwaliteee

Too many people are hiding behind this ‘2nd Half of The Season’ clap trap and buying Arteta’s excuses.

A season is based over 38 games.That’s why we’re where we are. We’re not second, third or fourth. We’re scratching around mid table. Even 7th isn’t good enough for this club and the football we play is God awful.

“Second half of the season.”

Honestly, I’ve heard some desperate straw clutching in my time, but that’s taking the piss.

Martin R

More toxic negativity from a so called supporter who refuses to see the great improvement in our results and the tightening up of our defence.

SarcasmB0t

Did you see the “great improvement” in the Villareal games too?

Or only in the games that didn’t matter?

Nainsley Aitland Miles

The ‘second half of the season‘ argument holds weight as it points to an upward trajectory.

Gervinhothegoat

Points in the 1st half of the season
27 from 19 games
Points in 2nd half of the season.
34 from 19 with a win on Sunday

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Remember stats where Mustafi was better than Van Djik?

Qwaliteee

Oh but stats are king, don’t you know?

I mean how the fuck did we ever tell a good player from a bad player back in day…..

goonshow

I’d be interested to hear how else one can gauge progress than by tracking performance over time? And it’s entirely disingenuous to consider nothing less than a full season as carrying any weight… If that is the only valid measure, then why have a January window? Why bring loan players in? Why indeed, change anything at all? We should wait until the end of the season, surely? Change happens in increments – it could be a single training session, an single injury (or key recovery), a key signing (or loanee), a ‘tipping point’ performance from struggling player that galvanises the… Read more »

goonshow

off‘ a winning base… apologies.

Qwaliteee

Yeah.

See you next August for more of the same.

Gervinhothegoat

Away games played at Liverpool, Man city, Man utd, Tottenham, and Everton were all played before boxing day from these 5 games we took 3 points.
These games don’t count in the make believe land of our amazing 2nd half of the season

Those games were all played before we integrated Odegaard and Smith-Rowe into the team. And Partey only managed 90 minutes in the United game.

Besides, our Away form this season is better than our Home form.

Gervinhothegoat

Home games played after Boxing day against Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd, Tottenham and Everton.
From these 5 games we took 4 points

Canadagoon

You’re right, why measure quantifiable metrics over time to evaluate improvement or regression and adjust accordingly? Not like it’s scientific or anything. We’ll just blow it all up cause you say we’re shit.

That’s why they don’t measure active cases and deaths on a daily basis in this pandemic to make changes as things improve, only the count at the end of the year matters…oh wait, that’s not how they do it. You’re taking the piss.

Qwaliteee

I’ll tell you what.

Take a look at the league table and ‘measure’ how far down the table we are – especially in relation to our peers in the ‘top six’

That’s how you measure success of a football team, pal. Where they are in the table.

goonshow

Measure what you wish, how you wish.
But your insistence on brow-beating any- and every-one on here into your own narrow view, is really exhausting!

Gervinhothegoat

Points in the 1st half of the season
27 from 19 games
Points in 2nd half of the season.
34 from 19 with a win on Sunday

RistoJ

>>

“I think there is a lot of history there with teams that have been involved in the Europa League, and the negative consequences that has in the Premier League positions. But we’ve tried to give it the best possible go, we came a little bit short, but this club has to be in Europe.”<<

Didn't thought that one thru' Mikel, did you? Yes but, no but, yes but….

Biggles

Nuno is leaving Wolves .. is it time to crank up the rumour mill?

Futsboller

He’ll be going to Spurs … a shame, as he seems like such a nice guy and a good coach, and those things won’t last in that hole …

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

I hate his beard. For that reason, will never support him if he comes to Arsenal, lol.

Tapps

He’ll be off to Shite Fart Lane.

Where ever Nino goes. Jorge Mendes and Gestifute follow. I hope Spuds know what they’re getting themselves into if he becomes their manager.

Santori

7th is not a great position by any stretch of the imagination but should we pull it off and critically finish above Spurs, at least some face saving. Its still poor from the manager. He has had a far more ambitiously assembled squad than Emery had or say Leicester or West Ham or even Everton (even if we finish ahead of them). He should be doing far better. People confuse themselves with thinking this squad is not Arteta’s or he needs another 5 more additions or sell half the team and bring some new players in … The truth is… Read more »

Byo

No point in being in the useless Europa conference league. Just stay out of it!

Gunnerlocutor

So Arteta doesn’t want to be in Europe but says we “have to be in Europe”. I think he means the good Europe?

St Totteringham

Looking forward to the red wine and lasagna tonight.