Mikel Arteta is hoping stability will breed consistency as his new-look Arsenal squad look to recover from a disastrous start to the new campaign.
After a summer transfer window in which the Gunners have spent £140 million – more than any other club in Europe – the Spaniard knows he’s under pressure to get the club off the foot of the table.
Defeats to Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City have put the club under the microscope so it’s little wonder he seems to want to wipe the slate clean ahead of Saturday’s clash with fellow strugglers Norwich City.
“I am really looking forward to having everyone available and trying to start the season the way we want,” he told his pre-game press conference.
“We don’t want to use any excuses, we know how difficult the start was with injuries, a lot of covid issues we had and the extremely difficult games that we had. We have to reset now and we need to start, get everyone back on track and start to win football games, which is what we have to do.”
In addition to having key players back – Thomas Partey, Ben White and Gabriel are all fit after a spell on the sidelines – the boss is keen to see his side cut out the bad decision making that have pockmarked the early weeks of the season. From dodgy defending to Xhaka’s ridiculous red card at Manchester City, it’s been painful to watch for supporters.
“I just want to focus on that because the performance will lead to the result,” said Arteta.
“Everyone is going to talk about winning but you have to earn the right to do that and unfortunately in the last few games we have done basic things that haven’t allowed us to compete in the games like we want. If we do those right we will be much closer to winning football matches and that will bring momentum and everything will change.”
In normal circumstances, a manager working with a host of new players might expect some leeway while they gel. Unfortunately for Arteta, after a roller coaster two years in the Emirates hot seat, patience is running thin and he has to demonstrate an immediate improvement on the pitch. To be fair, he’s not hiding from the challenge.
“We have a completely different squad with the number of changes that you just mentioned. You can tell that is unheard of.
“Now we have the tools that we believe are going to give us the best opportunity to compete in the way we want to compete and build what we want to build in this project and now we have to make it work.
“We have to glide it together, we need to create relationships, chemistry, understanding. We have to adapt and we have to do that really quickly.”
On Arsenal’s position in the table, he added: “It’s nowhere near where we want to be. That’s for sure. I think it needs a little bit or perspective of what happened. Everybody is disappointed and we are no different. The fans are disappointed and everybody related to the club should be disappointed, but we are so determined and willing to change it as quickly as possible, and we are on it.”