If last weekend proved demoralising for everyone at Arsenal, the new week brought some perspective.
Yes, the title had slipped through our fingers. Yes, the term ‘bottled it’ was being thrown at us like a series of Mike Tyson jabs. Yes, Manchester City underlined (emphatically, you have to say) just how hard it will be to beat them.
However, when the players returned to training on Tuesday, still licking their wounds from the 3-0 defeat to Brighton that all but confirmed we’ll have to settle for second place in the Premier League, the boss wanted to show them how far they had come.
“We did a different style of meeting, just remembering how far we’ve come,” revealed Aaron Ramsdale.
“He [Arteta] put on the board about how we can still have the most wins by an Arsenal team in the Premier League, and about how it’s very disappointing at the moment but how progressive the season has been, how positive we can be.”
Finding the energy to switch the mood around the training ground didn’t come easy to Arteta who looked utterly crestfallen on Sunday as his side limped through the final stages in front of a half empty Emirates Stadium.
He admits he needed 24 hours to heal himself but then took heart from the support provided by those around him.
“Sometimes you just go in bed and cover in bed like this for 12 hours and don’t speak to anybody. Sometimes you need your wife, you need your kids around you, your dog, your family,” said the Spaniard.
“I never had, since I’ve been three years at the club, I never had that many text messages after a game. It was incredible. I think it was 122 messages that I had. All talking about what we’ve done. They said, please don’t Iose perspective about what you guys have done.
“And that helps because it comes from friends that obviously you want to give your dream, but from a lot of colleagues, a lot of coaches as well, a lot of people at the club. And sometimes that helps you as well because you need sometimes that.
“I was only with that tunnel vision thinking about, I should have done that in the game, we should have changed that, we should have done that and you just kill and hammer yourself and that helped I think.”
While there are still two games to go, including this evening’s tough trip to Nottingham Forest, it’s understandable that attention is already turning to the summer and how Arsenal can strengthen the squad so that it can challenge again in the league while also coping with the rigours of Champions League football.
There are expected to be several new faces, a few who will depart on their own terms and a probably a couple of surprise casualties.
“We try to make the right decisions,” said Arteta. “Tough decisions sometimes are something that depends on you, sometimes it depends on players that they want to seek or look for a different challenge. It all depends.
“We’ll sit down at the end, evaluate where we are, what we can do, how we’re going to get better, which is the main aim, and be in the best possible condition next year to compete.”
The transfer windows have proved vital in raising the level year on year since Arteta took over and he’s expecting the coming months to be no different.
“Crucial,” was how he summed up this summer. “To go to the next level it’s going to be a crucial summer for us, that’s for sure.
“First of all, to make sure that we maintain everything that we have at the club right now, that we maintain the expectations, that we maintain that enthusiasm and energy that is around the place and we have a proper preparation to fulfil the objectives and the challenges that we’re going to have next season.”
Declan ‘Pat’ Rice … the key to unlocking our immense potential. I wd take a punt on Ivan Toney even tho he’s out till Jan. He’ll have a massive point to prove and offers something different up front.
Just keep going, Mikel. You are doing a f**king sterling job.
Better than Sterling himself is doing at West London.
I find it insulting when I go to ticket exchange and there is never a ticket to have to click little boxes which have motorbikes in them.
The Wolves game? A lot of fans expected us to win the league so I assume that fixture sold out ages ago. Even though the mood has changed, we can still mathematically win the league, and it’s the final home game of the season so I’d expect everyone to turn up to say thanks to the team.
Perhaps the motorcycles are an indication that next season we’ll race away with the title.
No reason to take it personal mate. Many people want to be there for the lap of appreciation. This is a manager that is taking us all on a wonderful journey of highs and lows, triumph and despair but ultimately uniting the fan base behind the team because we are competitive again and play attractive football. Up The Arsenal.
We’ll see what happens with outgoings but I’m going against the narrative and don’t expect ESR to be sold. Still only 22 years old with such an incredibly high ceiling, I reckon he’s simply being wrapped in cotton wool ahead of next season and an intense pre-season program. Just patience.
A large number of fans thought Martinelli had fallen out of favour with Mikel as last season he wasn’t starting games for the first few months. He only started regularly from December. Patience.
Many fans all thought Mikel hated Saliba because he kept sending him out on loan. Patience.
I know mate. People are making these huge lists of players leaving – Eddie, Reiss, The Smith, Holding, Xhaka, Balogun…
But the fact is we need about 5 more players just to compete in the CL.
Edu can only do so much in the summer. I think we might be surprised by some players that stay.
I heard that ESR is being retrained as a No 8 and play in that one position. They have tried Vieira in that position, but it didn’t work out for whatever reason. Hopefully this works out (if true) because with his eye for a pass and attacking play he would be a great asset there.
That’s interesting. And I think one of ESR’s huge qualities is his flexibility. He can play 8,10 or 11. I’ve even heard false 9 whispered. What worries me is the mental side. I still remember the private chef. While I saw that as a positive, it did imply that Smith Rowe maybe isn’t behaving like an elite footballer should. I’m sorry pal, but that number 10 on your back and the 70k in your bank every week means Nando’s is for summertime only. If he goes, it will be a mentality problem, not a talent issue. I just hope Arteta… Read more »
Arteta clearly looking for a response from ESR with his public comments. You don’t make comments like that unless your are trying to change their behavior and get a response. When Arteta stopped speaking about Pepe publicly, that was the end of Pepe, the manager was no longer looking for a response, his mind was made up.
Yeah, I think this season has been a write off for ESR ever since the operation. Arteta and his team now have to whip him into shape both physically and mentally in preseason. He’s just such a Swiss army penknife that I think Arteta would be mad to get rid. And when he’s on, he is an absolute gem of a player. There aren’t many players who can dribble between the lines and produce consistent end product. Smith Rowe can make a mid block obsolete with one swing of the hips. And we could really use that. I’m not sure… Read more »
122 texts is one for each of the financial charges leveled against city (that nothing is being done about because money)
The summer hasn’t even started yet and I am already bored of the speculative tripe about who we are supposedly signing.
Off topic, but those muggy twats up the Seven Sisters road have lost yet again.
Today’s Bottle Job –
1-3 Brentford at Home.
8th place; could be 9th next weekend….
Forever in our shadow, the fucking clowns.