Friday, February 3, 2023

Arteta: Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards

Four wins on the bounce, the team looking more solid, new faces making an impact, old ones finding their mojo, young ones doing lovely things like scoring goals and making opponents look like doughnuts, the fans in full voice at a packed stadium…in the aftermath of a north London derby victory – a fantastic one at that – it’s tempting to suggest something has finally clicked for Mikel Arteta’s team.

By 8pm on Saturday evening, we might be frothing at the mouth again but for the moment, there’s an air of calm and optimism around the club that we’ve not experienced in quite some calm. Enjoy it. Drink it in.

Mikel Arteta isn’t stupid, he knows that momentum is difficult to build, easy to lose and that football is great at tripping you up just when you think you’ve learnt to dribble.

In an interview with Sky Sports ahead of the trip to the AMEX, he said as much:

“Momentum is down to confidence, is down to believing in what you do and really feeling it and trying to embrace it and move on every week, adding something, making sure that the steps are forwards.

“In any project, that’s impossible to happen every single week. Some days you have to go a little bit backwards to go forwards and you have to realise that and don’t lose perspective.”

The boss also reflected on why he feels like Arsenal are heading in the right direction after a period of non-stop flux since the departure of Arsene Wenger in 2018.

“The changes we made this summer was probably the most significant summer we’ve had since I’ve been here.

“Now you start to get a sense that we’re all on the same page. With any project, you need the right foundations and now we have clarity in what we want to do.

“We’re starting to have some stability. We have to establish unity. And when that happens, there are better decisions, everybody is more calm, everybody is more settled and things start to happen.”

Arteta’s comments build on those made in his pre-game press conference where he was quizzed on how his long-term plan is coming together. For months he’s been talking about the difficulty of marrying short and long-term results.

He said: “The plan is in place but the things that really matter for the plan to evolve and develop is the present and we have to focus on what we’re meant to do in the present because the rest has already been designed, planned and thought about. What is going to allow us to do that is just the present, so we have to focus on that.”

The Spaniard also outlined how the fans can play a part: “I’ve always said that I’ve been here for 18/20 months and for 16 or 17 of those months, we haven’t had our people with us.

“It’s impossible to build anything [like that] because they are the biggest part of our foundation and when they are with us and when they are embracing what we are doing, you see the difference because they are able to create momentum and create the energy and the passion that they did at the weekend [for the north Londond derby] and when that happens, the team responds.”

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Johnny 4 Hats

Why do I feel this quote may haunt him if we spiral into bad performances again?


Lol but I disagree, it’s pretty measured and refrains from any hyperbole or anything. Definitely a long way from the classic ‘Arsenal are in a negative spiral’ trash talk that them lot keep getting suckered into!

Johnny 4 Hats

Yeah. I get his thinking. And there’s some truth in it. But there are a lot of fans out there whose distain for Arteta has only been pacified until the next bad result. A poor performance against Brighton and I can imagine the twitterspere going for the old, “So how bad does it have to get before it gets better Mikel?” routine. God know the whole, “We must suffer together” quote got bandied about when things were really bad. The wounds of last season haven’t healed for so many. I’ve got a United mate who is constantly calling for Ole’s… Read more »


Don’t go on Twitter


Second this, I have a great time on Twitter following interesting accounts but I notice people let themselves get waaaay too upset by the wind-up merchants and general drivel on that site!

Look at the way the fans have responded to the team inside the stadium – that’s where it matters.


exactly. who cares about those idiots? twitter is full of people who think they are some kind of unrecognised geniuses and do nothing but bash everyone else all day long to make themselves feel better about the fact their genius has never been recognized by anyone other than themselves. arteta is doing a fantastic job in really difficult circumstances and it’s great to see the fans in the stadium get behind what he is trying to do. still a long way to go but even at this stage i think this squad could bump united out of the top four… Read more »


Worse than that even. It doesn’t matter how much of a rabid, barking wingnut you are, you will find a few like minded fruitloops to agree with you on [email protected]
Thus your confidence in the obvious fact that you are right and the majority view is merely a conspiracy against The Truth is reinforced.
No prizes for guessing which rock the likes of “Insulate Britain” crawled out from under…


The president of my country has made sure i can’t, so this is where i live, in the comments section of arseblog. Twitter is overrated. Tomiyasu and Ben white to score tomorrow, another Ramsdale clean sheet. Coyg!!!


I feel that this last window (the strategy and spend committed) and the last 4 results clearly show that Arteta is not the utterly pathetic, lost fool that the instant-grat boys on here would have us all believe… Does he have it all sussed/mapped out – I doubt it, this is football after all. But I have significant respect for his sticking to his beliefs, pushing ahead with his plan despite some truly hateful vitriol from fans who’s club he not so long ago captained. Those jaundiced fair-weather merchants do not deserve the oxygen we too often give them on… Read more »


Always thought he was a smart guy. Wondered a bit about man management, after Guendouzi and maybe Saliba, but difficult to gauge when you only get part of the story and it does appear as though he has called it fairly well. The period has been extrordinarily difficult for anyone to manage, circumstance at Arsenal and Pandemic, and he has done OK, especially considering he is a rookie manager. Where he seems to have upped his game recently is his connection with the fans via verbal and body language. Maybe also slightly toned down his pitch side coaching….? I am… Read more »


I agree, I have thought he would have a successful long-term managerial career, but I have absolutely questioned that Arsenal may have come too early for him. He made some very questionable decisions, particularly in man management and his ideology of “experience”. Those approached very stubborn and seemed to want to just stick to his guns, and even over thinking things tactically and trying to be too cute (false 9s and the likes in huge matches) – and that almost cost him his job I think. It seems all his talk of reflecting over the summer was true and he’s… Read more »


We’ve been here before, so I won’t be getting too excited. Let’s just hope that this time it will be different.


I understand your fears 100% (and I have them myself), but we haven’t been here before!!! The squad’s a lot different from when he (MA) first arrived and even compared to last season. The so called “deadwood” we all claimed flooded the squad have been substantially removed. There’s a younger group of talent (with the potential for growth in playing terms – we’ve been impressed by our new signings as well), the January transfer window ahead, gradual momentum after a slow start, and players who indicate they are all in support of the direction the Manager and his team are… Read more »


I love the direction we are going in. I love our young team. I think the biggest problem in the next 5 years will be stopping other teams poaching our young lads.


let’s hope that’s our biggest problem

Jeremy DG

Worry about that in 5 years. Not worth a second thought now. Bigger fish to fry

Lars the Whyking

Arteta has turned it around. Again! He has shown that he can handle the pressure. We have progressed. We are moving forward. Another bump in the road and I don’t wanna hear nothing about sacking him now. Clickbait media and pundits gtfo! The short term plan went to shite, fair enough. There was alot of deep rooted problems in the club, and transfers didnt turn out as hoped. Malaria, injuries, red cards, the bloat, covid. I don’t know if anyone could have gotten us through that period in a less painful way anyway. We stuck with him long enough for… Read more »

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

I said after the City thrashing that our season starts against Norwich, and we’ll go on a 10 game winning run.
We’ve made a good start, and I have confidence that this team will be in, or not far off top 4 after 13 games played.

Maybe not a 10 game win streak but not far off it.


The season starts on the first game, not when you start winning.


We hadn’t won after the City game which is when his comment was made.


You don’t seem to get it.

This Must Be The Place

It seem’s more like you who has missed the point


Thanks for confirming you are stupid.


You utter muppet….


What’s the matter, imbecile?


Calm your farm. Spuds was brilliant and energising. But only one game. I am a little perturbed by all this talk of turning corners and winning things. Let’s just make Brighton a cup final, and take care of business.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

It’s actually 3 games, Andy.

Or do ground out 1 nil wins not count these days?


One of the more exciting things about Arteta initially was the promise of the “new”. He didn’t have a set style or approach because it was literally his first go at being a manager. I expected him to face challenges, but hoped he’d learn from them, adapt and overcome. And in certain regards he did. But after the F.A win it seemed like he’d stopped doing that. He suddenly seemed to be quite stuck in his ways and quite flippantly dismissive of anyone who questioned him. Any charm he held evaporated and all I could see was a young upstart… Read more »


Absolutely spot on. We have a long way to go, but definitely feel the tide is turning


Really good post. Articulating the sentiments I was feeling also. I’d still like to see some of his in game substitutions improving, but certainly am more certainly in a happier place since the transfer window biz was completed.


Ah – did not mean to use certainly twice! Got distracted mid post and didn’t read it back. School boy error….

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

Don’t worry worry about it.


i think a lot of this was down to the external pressure from all the naysayers and internal pressure from players who just weren’t on board with what he was asking them to do. he obviously went through a period of reflection during the international break and learned some lessons. i think he would admit himself he didn’t exactly behave as well as he could have in public in first weeks of the season. i think it’s really impressive how he has come out the other side of it and his messaging since the early defeats has been spot on.… Read more »


I think it’s difficult for any of us mere mortals to imagine the pressure-cooker he walked into… and the almost comic list of hurdles that then hit him one after t’other (including the Greeks bearing gifts – of covid, ffs!).
He is clearly someone he places huge expectations on himself, before others – and this, I believe was the genesis of much of his tense appearance and testiness during those terrible months.

But – for now – the Brighton giant-killers loom and, as always, time will tell…


No wonder…we have to lose 3 games to win 3 games.

Now, I really hope we turned a corner but words like these just sound like making excuses for the next setback.



Reiss Neverseen vs the DicTeta

Yep. Pretty much hints at my worries with Arteta. He’s lowering the bar of expectations so the supporters can feel like there has been tangible progress under him.

The training wheels are still on I see.

Naked Cygan

We have been going backwards since 2005.


“Now you start to get a sense that we’re all on the same page.” He and Edu have got rid of the shit stirrers and whiners at the club and if there are any left they’ve learned to keep quiet. I also like that he’s got the self awareness to accept criticism and be able to improve himself, the “clear the air” talks have clearly been taken on board and learned from. He looks happier and I think there is a togetherness in the club now, he’s been backed by the owners, Edu and importantly the players. The fans have… Read more »


well said. people seem to forget this is his first job as no.1. he is going to make mistakes but i’m really impressed with how he has handled things so far and where we are now compared to when he came on board. i’m not sure i could think of anyone out there right now who would be a better fit for the plan we are implementing.


Other than AP, Cygan and the other pathetic haters above, that is.

Four wins, quickly-settled young signings, key partnerships emerging – and yet still they rant on!

So very, very unfortunate.

Guns Up

Nice to see them getting blasted with down votes. Most of us are on the same page and are excited about the possibilities. If they miss out on the joys of this whole ride, it’s their loss.

Reiss Neverseen vs the DicTeta

Okay my friend. If you say so👍

Old Stimmo


Gutbukkit Deffrolla

That is a NAAASTY cough you’ve got there.


We must go backwards to go forwards, forwards to go upwards, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards trophies.

(Sorry, couldn’t resist. I think I get what he means, but the quote does sound a bit odd at first glance.)

Arsene's champagne football

*Mikel Arteta isn’t stupid*
Exactly! Unai Emery wasn’t either! They’re hugely intelligent guys… fact


In that case, job well done.

I believe the football speak for what he’s describing is: “sometimes maybe good, sometimes maybe shit.”


Long term vision is incredibly important and I admire Arteta on sticking to his morals on that. Let’s hope the short term momentum continues.


Some days you have to go a little bit backwards to go forwards

Sounds like something Xhaka might have told him.



it’s also vintage Arsene…


Let’s not get too excited. One match at a time…

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

This is what I remember from the Invincibles run. So many people said exactly that, and when we finally lost a match it was “I told you so!!!!!”


We will win and loose games. Performance and application will be central to defining the season. Winning runs are meant to come to an end at some point…. In the last few games there has been a significant increase in the application and performance and focus should be on that one match at a time.

Laca New Signing

Big shout out to the people that attend the matches – especially the away fans who sing their lungs out and create that positive environment for the players to feed from and consequently give their every ounce of energy to get a positive result. I have especially noted a tremendous renaissance of Aubameyang since the fans came back. He’s running more, getting stuck in and trying to win every ball in response to the fans’ encouraging chants. This can only be good for the whole team. It also helps that our ladies are on an awesome run and this results… Read more »


Good lad! The Arse is alive and very, very well here in Africa!


Kanuuuuuuu! What a player and inspiration. Favourite Kanu moment guys?
Extraordinary comeback hat trick v Chelsea, classic goal at White Hart Lane. That delicious flick v Middlesbrough.
A Kanu salute to you my brother in Africa.

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

Big shout out to the Sp*rs fans who all posed perfectly for Auba’s goal celebration in front of them (Have you seen that classic photo?).

That’s the first time I’ve ever felt (sort of almost) kindly towards the poor deluded gits. They just had that “dog whose chew toy has been taken away” look.


Winter is coming

Teryima Adi

So, the supporters and the players synchronize like the arms of the clock- there must be synergy, Arteta, between both. The supporters are the Fifth Column sort of.😄😄😄

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