Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Arteta: Champions League qualification “extremely important”

Mikel Arteta wouldn’t be drawn on whether he agrees with Arsene Wenger’s statement that finishing fourth in the Premier League is akin to winning a trophy but he does admit qualification for the Champions League is “extremely important” to Arsenal.

Between 1998–99 and 2016–17, the Gunners qualified 19 times in a row for Uefa’s premier competition – an English record – but haven’t participated in it since the Frenchman’s penultimate season in the dugout.

Wenger was roundly mocked a decade ago when he first started giving weight to Champions League qualification, however, many managers have come round to his thinking in recent years because of the financial riches the competition offers. 

On his former boss’ assessment, Arteta said: “I have heard that quote now many times from many different managers and I think Arsene was the first one who said it because he could probably see what was happening in this league and the difficulty of achieving that.

“It was the way he described it and it was the way that he felt, and I feel that for the club it would be extremely important.”

Having started the season with a trio of defeats, there were many critics who didn’t think Arteta would last the course this season, let alone lead Arsenal to the brink of Uefa’s promised land. It would be a huge reward for a roller-coaster season.

“This is football,” said Arteta about bouncing back. “Things turn around really quickly, both ways, and just be surrounded by good people, make sure you believe in what you do, be consistent with it and then, I think with time, things happened in the way that they have to happen, but in football, sometimes they don’t.

“So you need that element of luck as well, you need the element of support and you need that ball to get in the net at the right moment when it needs to be.”

He also says that criticism alone has not been the driving force behind his side’s improvement.

“You have to be prepared for that,” he noted. “This club is built on the history and tells you that you have to be the best in the country and you have to win every competition you’re involved with, and we have to deal with that pressure, and when you’re not delivering results it’s part of the job.”

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He has turned things round substantially, many of us had almost given up on him but this season has been a huge step up from the last few years with lots of potential for getting even better. Really hope we get CL, though we have a better chance of doing well in the Europa, so would be a good stepping stone for CL qualification the season after.

Would be fantastic to seal CL qualification tomorrow, or at least get a point so that it is very likely. The hope that kills…


Agree with everything except your Europa League point. I think it’s critical for the progress of the team to qualify for CL now. For me, it’s more important to play on the stage than it is to progress far into a lesser tournament. The financial rewards, the prestige and reputation, are too great in my view to pass up.


Even if we struggle in the group we could fall into EL.
To be honest I’m more worried about squad depth than quality. On our day we can compete with the best, but schedule will be heavy.


The issue, I think, is not whether it would be good to qualify for the CL this year. Obviously we’d all love that. The more important point is that if (heaven forbid) we don’t make 4th will we still consider this a successful season and applaud the team and the manager after the Everton match? I think it’s already a very successful season and that’s why we should approach Spuds relaxed.

Chuck Felsea

Of course it is a successful season, as we are back in Europe already, however, the disappointment would be big because of the circumstances and because of how it is really up for grabs on a silver platter. I am not even talking about a win today, but as Fats mentions below, even a draw would be a fantastic result. It should really be possible to win one of the last two games and I am not even talking about the possibility of a Sp*rsey slip up which could make any further win obsolete if we drew today. Anyway, if… Read more »


Incidentally, what a legend Arsene was. Held back by the financial constraints of the new stadium, unfortunately, meaning he was resticted on what he could spend on wages (see the effect on the team with all the legends disappearing), but still incredible given those restrictions. And without the restrictions, invincible…


It’s going to be very interesting to see just what tactics Arteta will employ tomorrow.

Bearing in mind that a draw would be a fantastic result my guess is that Arteta will go all defensive. It wouldn’t surprise me to see a back five with four in the midfield, all dropping deep to deny Spuds space behind.

Yes, I know it’s negative, but Arteta is very good at this. Let’s hope Martinelli, Saka or Nketia get a chance or two on the break.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Yep could switch between a back 4 and back 5 with Elneny as the auxiliary tracking Kane.

I would also be inclined to switch Tomiyasu back to Right-Back to deal with Son.


Absolutely – Tommy on Son is imperative.


You’ve already categorically decided (in an earlier comment) that we are losing the game, so why are you worrying about tactics now?


I like tactics

Albert Stuivenberg

Wanna share what tactics you would use to beat Sp*rs? Maybe Arteta will copy yours when he reads it here.


let albert run the game..

Bleeding gums murphy


A Different George

I’m not usually interested in reading Fatgooner’s mind (terrified of what I might find there), but I suspect that earlier comment had more to do with a superstitious dread of predicting a win than any actual belief. Am I right, fat man?


Exactly. And it would make my year if we went over there and beat them tomorrow. But I’ve been an Arsenal fan for nearly 50 years and have got used to being tortured by the club.

Hopefully, by this time tomorrow I’ll be paralytic after downing a vat of whiskey in celebration of our qualification.

Mayor McCheese

I’ll be drowning my face with whiskey either way, whether to minimise the pain or maximise the pleasure. I guess this means a draw is just vanilla sex.

Heavenly Chapecoense

They will try to kill the game very early and will attack us ferociously in the first 20 mn. We need to contain them early in the game then plan fast counterattacks like Walcott at Liverpool.

Mayor McCheese

I’m really curious about that. If they do come out as you say and attack us ferociously, then they’d be abandoning their one tried-and-true tactic under Conte (and earlier), which is to invite pressure and hit on counter-attack. I have a feeling they’ll stick to the winning formula, but I hope they don’t. We are a good counter-attacking side in our own right, and Spurs have shown with some consistency that they cannot break down a side with men parked around the 18-yard box, as we should rightly do if they go for a full-on attack on home soil.

Pete Plum

Gah the Arsene picture was clickbait

Mayor McCheese

Just like that one where he’s on that beach in Rio.


We need the UCL… Not only for the money, but to both retain and attract good players… Been way too long for a club like Arsenal. Arseta will do it! I hope it’s an open, fast game tomorrow night… Both teams can attack well like that, but I feel Spurs are better at close, tight playing in the box… We seem to struggle to break down a static and full defense. Maybe our lack of strength and height in the front line has something to do with that… Though Eddie will crack them open and eat spuds for breakfast the… Read more »

Man Manny

It’s quite important we nail it this year. Next season might be tricky.
If Conte nicks it, he’ll be there or thereabouts again next season.
United might just begin to find their way with Ten Hag.
Winning it this year gives us an opportunity to strengthen properly, and move to the next level of our development.
Although I would have taken Europa at the beginning, not anymore. An opportunity to inflict pain on Spurs… and Conte doesn’t come often.

Mayor McCheese

Agree, but isn’t Conte about to fuck off to PSG no matter what? One can hope. He’s a good coach and would rather goodness not touch anything Sp*rsish.

Next season: Ten Hag has a shit-ton to do, and I don’t think United’s malaise is solved in one or even two years. Chelsea…unknown…I don’t think they’ll have the same kind of unmitigated financial doping structure as with Roman, but maybe I’m wrong. A consortium ownership model can be tricky. One can hope.

Jenas Wright Martin Mour

Precisely…every season is a new season..everyone start with a clean slate and you just don’t know what will happen….The time is always now and now that we have a real chance we should give a real fight to grab it. If it doesn’t happen at the end, I am still OK with it coz there have indeed been tangible progress and I like the spirit this group of players have shown this season particularly after January. There seems to be a real unity in what they want to achieve this season and the players seems to have a total buy-in… Read more »


Consecutive seasons in the UCL can really help the club build back up again. I would be inclined to prioritise the league over the UCL, even for the next few years. I would take 3 UCL seasons in group stage then a single one through to the second round or quarters. We need the consistency of at least being there, not just a one off season. And I am worried with lack of depth, we might miss out the following year which would set us back again if we get carried away with it and think we are going to… Read more »


arteta knows


The 12th May is a good day for The Arsenal.

I’ll hand you over to John Motson at ten to five on a sun drenched Wembley in 1979.

”There’s a minute left on the clock…Brady for Arsenal …out to Rix right across…..Sunderland!! It’s there!! Alan Sunderland!! It’s three two!!!


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