While there remains the slimmest of chances that Manchester City might capitulate in the next eight days to hand Arsenal the Premier League title, in all likelihood Pep Guardiola’s side will wrap up a third consecutive title at some point this weekend.
For the Gunners – league leaders for so long before an untimely drop-off in form – it’s a moment for reflection.
Mikel Arteta knows his club have come on leaps and bounds since August but he also acknowledges his squad is not yet strong enough to compete on multiple fronts like the Blues; a fact that was underlined by the Gunners’ premature exit from the domestic cups and the Europa League.
Facing the media ahead of Saturday’s tip to Nottingham Forest, he was asked whether his squad in its current guise could challenge for the Champions League and Premier League.
“Today? No,” he replied. “At the level that we want, no. Because we didn’t have the capacity to do that as well with the Europa League. So it’s part of that evolution.
“We have made a lot of good steps, strong steps in that journey. We have to continue. That never ends. We want to be better. The rest will be better. The demands will be higher. We have to start and live with those standards and improve and be smarter.”
The transfer window may not be open yet but Arsenal have already been linked with a host of potential signings that could strengthen problem areas. At the same time, Arteta is keenly aware he needs to get more of a song from fringe players who struggled to break into his starting lineup this year.
Clarifying how Arsenal can improve, he continued: “It doesn’t mean only to sign players.
“It’s to improve our players. There are players that we haven’t had the best out of them this season and it is our job to improve them because there are a few players that haven’t had the minutes or the performances and we have to seek as well for those players to give us a different edge.
“It’s not only about signing players, it’s about resources, staff and improving certain things that can be done better or more efficiently or smarter.”
He added: “We have to continue doing the 80% of the things that we do really, really well and just trying to win margins and find improvements and ways to be better in other areas – whether it is improving players, whether it is improving processes, improving with recruitment. Obviously, we have certain margins there that for sure are very important for us to get to another level.”
Ahead of Arsenal’s match at West Ham in April, Arteta spoke presciently about the importance of “inches and those inches need to go your way”. 48 hours later, his side surrendered a two-goal advantage for the second time in a week and, just for good measure, put a penalty wide of the post.
You sense that game has been playing on his mind.
“When you get closer to the top, then the margins are smaller. And what makes you win or lose, it’s minimal and it changes.
“It’s a penalty that goes in or out and then the season changes in that moment. Having three or four injuries or having a full squad in the key moments. It defines the season. What we have ahead of us the next summer is extremely important and we have to absolutely nail it.”
We have come a long way, haven’t we?
Yes we have! And we trust the process..
Kind goes without saying really. However new additions, certainly high end, experienced ones keeps existing players on their toes. This is something I think we’ve been guilty of in the recent past.
Arteta – It’s not all about signings
Twitter – Where is everyone?
Yes; improving Arsenal is not all about signing new players. But if we are to move to the next level, and possibly beat City to the finishing line next season, about 70% of that improvement has to come from prime quality signings and 30% organic growth.
I’d say closer to 65.27%
Which methodology are you using? I can’t get much more than 61 out of my calculations using Renshaw’s secondary oblique reentry.
Player we absolutely need to sign:
First Name: Winning
Last Name: Mentality
Doesn’t have much of a track record of winning at that age! Take him anyway.
25 wins out of 36 games is winning mentality.
Just for context;
The Invincibles won 26.
01/02 we won 26.
97/98 we won 23.
90/91 we won 24.
88/89 we won 22.
If we beat Forest and Wolves, our win record surpasses all those great Arsenal teams going back decades. I really hope we can do it.
These stats are facts BUT there is another fact. You have been on top of the league for more than 20 games and you scored two goals very quickly in a game then you start panicking and got disorganized. You did that in two successive games then you panicked against a team that was waiting to be relegated. If you tell me this team has as much quality as the Invincibles (although we have no Henry), I will sign for it on the spot. We’re not talking about quality. Try to map this team to the Invincibles and name the… Read more »
There’s a bit of context, were any needed.
These boys can be extremely proud of themselves; those teams listed above contained many an Arsenal legend.
Oh do stop talking common sense will you?
I was one of the few who wasn’t too bothered when we didn’t qualify for the champions last season as it was clear our squad just wasn’t ready for it. We needed an additional 4 quality players added to the squad just to qualify in my opinion, which is what we got. We’ll need another 4 to probably win the league and an additional 2 or 3 on top of that to be competitive in both. I have full confidence that Arteta and Edu know what we need and how to go about achieving it. And this: “When you get… Read more »
Well it is for me, so get Edu and the rest of the crew on it so we can all start dreaming!!!!
You cannot argue with that.
You only need to look at Chelsea to see that buying players is only part of the answer.
It’s like Boehly has pulled up at Stamford Bridge with a truck full of players and said to the manager “there you go, get on with it”
Helps if you also buy the right players. Oops we’ve got to many left wingers and no striker.
Oops, you’ve forgotten Balogun.
Why would anyone think teleporting the Brighton set up into Chelsea would make them competitive at the top end of the league?
Brighton are due to have their best ever season with a total of a maximum 67 points, would that be acceptable for Chelsea? Of course it wouldn’t.
It’s the most basic and simplistic analysis to conclude that doing the same but with more money is the answer.
As Arteta said, at the top the margins are smaller. That means especially when it comes to player recruitment you need to buy proven quality not potential.
…but it certainly helps.
its not all about signing players.. we sign dogs too!
Terrible movie great movie
Great scene terrible movie. It’s early
It won’t leave me alone and it’s all we have left.
But it’s something.
And if it only takes one Gooner to believe it in order for it to happen, then ladies and gents – I am that Gooner.
I still believe. If City are hungover after the Madrid game, and Chelsea go to Etihad and nick a 1-0, that would raise a few eyebrows.
Though notice how Ivan Toney gets his ban before Brentford still have to play Man City, instead of waiting until end of season. I do not believe that’s a coincidence.
You bet your life that’s not a coincidence.
Brown and Sky Blue paper bag money changing hands yet again.
Great stuff on winning mentality!
I was a bit reluctant to click on that link after seeing the words ‘movie’ and ‘inches’ in the same paragraph.
Squad rotation, game management, and substitutions play a big part in improvement, so hopefully thr coaching staff take their lessons as well
I suspect there are specific players who Arteta thinks will become much better. For example, he seems to rate Vieira much more highly than supporters. Obviously we owe Arteta the benefit of the doubt–he sees him in training and understands more about football generally and the Arsenal team specifically than supporters. This is a guy who made Mustafi look quite good when he arrived–an abbreviated precursor to the Xhaka redemption arc. Did anyone think Ben White would turn into what he has? (Even his one clear mistake in judgment–playing Willian–does not look as ridiculous if you have watched how excellent… Read more »
I agree with most of what you say but if Smith Rowe is sold this summer I don’t think he will have been given a fair chance. He had surgery on a long standing issue which has kept him out for several months and it can take time to come back and fully regain fitness. I think he should at least be given pre season to see how he is physically before any decision is made. There’s no doubt in my mind a fully fit Emile Smith Rowe is a phenomenal player with huge capacity to help us achieve our… Read more »
Ridiculous isn’t, Emile got 11 goals last year and saved Arteta’s job the year before now people are wanting him sold.
Fans have short memories.
it is because some fans have MA bias that blinds out all the things that Arteta hasn’t excelled at. such as a/m squad rotation, game management and subs. and those certainly are very important because they are prerquisits for gettinng those margins. for me, the next season will be tje answer to a question whether MA will become great manager or just an average one. ESR could have been sold for over 50 mil. last year but Arteza kept him and bought Fabio Viera and. Trossard spending another 60 mil without really ever giving ESR propper chance. Tavares, Lokonga, Cedric,… Read more »
Abit of Wenger about this press conference
Fabio Viera is the first that comes to mind. Really needs to step up if he wants to play in the Premier League