A win against Liverpool on Saturday would see Arsenal climb above Jurgen Klopp’s side in the Premier League standings and stretch our unbeaten run to 12 games.
As controversial as it sounds, it’s something we’d support. Winning is good and makes us happy. Losing is bad and makes us sad.
Unfortunately, history is against us. League trips to Anfield have been unrelentingly painful in recent years with Liverpool regularly paddlin’ us to the point our collective bottoms are red raw.
While the boss acknowledges that his players’ recent development will be under the microscope, he’s up for the challenge of securing three points – something we’ve not achieved at Anfield since 2013 when he was on the pitch.
“That [a win] would be the objective,” he told his pre-game press conference.
“The standards that we have at the club, the objective is always to win the game – it doesn’t matter where you play, you always have to prepare the game to win it, and that is the way we will do it to go to Anfield to get the result.”
He added: “It is always a test, it is a fascinating stadium to play football in.
“You have to be at your best, and raise the level to your maximum standards, emotionally, physically, tactically, because if you don’t you will be exposed.
“Going to Anfield is always a test, but if you are able to do that, there are not many grounds as good as there to feel that you are a proper footballer.”
In our last seven league trips at Anfield, we’ve lost five games and conceded 23 goals. We’ve veered from annoyingly bad to incomprehensibly sh*t.
Arteta says it’s hard to say definitively why the recent record is so bad but he thinks the mindset of previous squads has had something to do with it.
“I don’t know [why we haven’t won there more], obviously the quality of the opponent has a big say.
“It’s not a coincidence that last year as well before we went to Old Trafford, it was I don’t know how many years before we won at Stamford Bridge the same, but first of all you have to believe that you go there and that you can beat them, that’s the first thing.
“If somebody is not with that mindset, they should not put the shirt on and go to Anfield tomorrow and then as I said you have to raise individually your game to your best, emotionally, physically, technically and tactically you have to be able to suffer in the right moments, because there’s going to be moments where you’re going to have to do that and then as a team you have to have very clear ideas of what you’re going to do on that pitch to beat that side.”
If there’s a plus this time around, it’s that Arsenal have strung a run of results together and, according to the boss, are confident.
“They [his players] are confident they are in good form, but they know that every game is different and we have to go game by game,” he said.
“It is a long run, the Premier League is such a long competition and you will have different moments, but obviously we want to maintain the moment, maintain the form and to do that just perform at the highest level, which is what you have to do in the Premier League, and for sure at Anfield, to go there and win the game.”
As 2021 edges towards its conclusion, the calendar-year-league-table-enthusiasts have once again been tapping away at their calculators to figure out which teams are quite good across a period that doesn’t come with any prizes.
As it turns out, since Boxing Day last year – regularly pinpointed as our ‘Eureka’ moment – we’ve accumulated the fourth-most points.
Asked whether that makes him reassess his ambitions for the campaign, Arteta said: “The targets are always linked to the expectations of this club, which is always to be the best, it doesn’t matter where you compete, [it doesn’t matter] in what moment or project you are, it is always that demand.
“That should not change because it is attached to our culture, our ambition and every player here has to be thinking that tomorrow is the most important day, and we have to win the game. The rest will take care of itself.”