Last May, Arsenal travelled to Newcastle needing a win to keep their hopes of a top four finish alive.
In his pre-game team talk, Arteta told his players: “Now it’s about confidence, believe in each other, guys. Believe in yourselves and play. I want to see determination from the start. So go, go forward, guys, play forward, go forward and take initiative in the fucking game. Energy from the first minute, I want to see that we want it more than them in every single ball.”
It ended very badly. “They were 10,000 times better than us,” Arteta told his players afterwards. “It’s fucking embarrassing,” he added.
The 2-0 capitulation was painful at the time and then on repeat when it became the focal point of the final episode of Amazon’s ‘All or Nothing’ documentary.
12 months later and the Gunners head to St James’ Park knowing they need a win to have any chance of taking their title challenge down to the wire.
While much has happened in the last 11 months to suggest Arsenal can get the result they need, the pressure is very much on to prove the doubters wrong.
Interestingly, despite using negative experiences to provoke reactions from his players on previous occasions, the manager is not interested in framing the upcoming clash as an opportunity for revenge.
“I don’t think so,” he said when asked if he can use last season’s defeat as extra motivation.
“There is not a lot to motivate from there, there are a lot of things we have to do much better than we did on the day. It’s a different group of players as well and where we are today is very different to that group.
“It is a very different game. It was a year ago with different players, a different game but we’ll have to play much better than we did last year, that’s for sure.
“We know that it is going to be a really tough game because especially at home they’ve been really good.”
If anything, Arsenal’s chance for revenge came and went in January when the Geordies parked the bus at Emirates Stadium and escaped with a 0-0 draw.
“We will try to play the game that we want and they will want to play a very different game, that’s for sure. That was the battle when we played them at Emirates Stadium, I think we deserved to win the game,” said Arteta reflecting on a frustrating match.
“There are things that are obviously going to be different from the last game and we’re going to have to be better to earn the right to win it.
“We don’t have to make a statement to anybody,” he stressed.
“We have to play our best game, and play as well as we possibly can to earn the right to win the game.”
Oh to be a fly on the wall of the away dressing room at 3.50pm on Sunday.