Monday, June 17, 2024

“We are still very, very far” – Arteta challenges players to reach new heights

Arsenal may have defied expectations to challenge Manchester City for the title this season but Mikel Arteta insists his side are nowhere near their peak.

The Spaniard has also hinted he has new tactical ideas he’d like to implement but has resisted the temptation to experiment during the business end of the campaign.

The Gunners, who have vied with Southampton for the youngest average starting lineup all year, still have an outside chance of winning a first Premier League title in 19 years but will need to be perfect in their remaining three games while hoping reigning champions Manchester City slip up.

Ahead of his side’s clash with Brighton, Arteta pondered what the future holds for his players.

“We are still very, very far. We can be much, much, much better at a lot of things still,” he said.

“Huge margins. We can be much better in our buildup, attacking man-to-man situations, attacking open spaces, defending deep, set pieces.

“We have huge margins to do in terms of game management, a lot of things we can still do much better. We can be more ruthless to kill games.

“It’s a lot of things we have to see for improvement because we don’t have a single player who has reached his peak; not one. And when that happens we as coaches have to be curious to understand, what can we do to get them better?”

Asked whether unlocking their full potential requires moulding his players psychologically as well as physically, he continued, “Yes, clicking and getting into them and getting something else out of them.

“There are certain players who have to go to a different level in terms of their leadership and what they are able to transmit to the group and responsibility and accountability that they have to take for what happens here every single day, the demands and standards we want at this club. It’s a lot to do.”

Asked if he’s been holding back new ideas, he said “yes” but made clear he’s not frustrated by that situation.

“At the end, they are the protagonists. We have to try to give them the tools that they know how to manipulate. If not we are going to put them in certain positions that they are not going to be comfortable with.

“There are moments to put the players in those moments and now is not the moment to do that, in my opinion.”

Even if Arsenal fail in their quest to win the title, they can take huge comfort from a long-awaited return to the Champions League. Arteta was still on the books as a player the last time the Gunners secured a top four finish and he’s excited knowing he can put his team up against Europe’s best.

“Yeah [I’m excited]. It’s a different level, another level. You see the presence of the players, you see the charisma, how they handle the occasion, it’s just magnificent.

“We want to be really in the Champions League, representing our club in the right way so we need to seek that level. There’s no secret, if you want to be at that level, you need to certain ingredients to be there.

“It’s great [to be back in it], but that’s the first step. Once that’s done, you have to think about how we want the club to be represented at that stage. It’s very different demands.”

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It is good to know we have a plan B. Just a shame he did not try something different when we had our wobble, especially at City where something radical was required.

Funsho Patrick

Trust the process Monsieur !😉


How is that working for you now against Brighton? No plan B and you get found out.

Ray's ice cream Parlour

Arteta after he wins Arsenal’s third consecutive Champions League title in 2026 “We are still very, very far. We can be much, much, much better at a lot of things still,”

Johnny 4 Hats

Fuck me I’ve got a massive boner for the future of Arsenal FC.

I remember an arsecast not too long ago, a few years perhaps, where a listener asked Andrew and James if it was foreseeable that Arsenal could win the league in the next decade. They both answered no.

We were just so far away. Light years off the pace. And now look where we are and Mikel is telling us we can be so much better.

These are the good times people. It won’t always be like this. It hasn’t always been like this.

Enjoy it!

Johnny 4 Hats

I will add this, totally out of context and for no apparent reason.

I had a dream about the Jeff last night. We were playing ping-pong. So this morning I googled him and found out he is on loan at Troyes and only played 6 games all season.

Don’t despair when Patino or Nwaneri or whoever leave. Young players are absolute lottery tickets.

Freddy Adu.


Freddy always delivered in football manager though 🙂

Johnny 4 Hats

He did indeed.

Remember Supat Rungratsamee too? I think he played for Pompey.

Was about 17 and would score 8 goals a game. Guessing that would’ve been about FM ’04.


I remember Javier Saviola – in FM he was fantastic and was one of those players who had the talent in real life but never quite made it. I guess the list of such players is endless – very few Saka’s about.

Johnny 4 Hats

Yes! Saviola! He was fantastic. I think he had a pretty decent career, didn’t he?

Now assistant manager of Barca u19’s.


Showing how old I am, I remember Lionel Messi as a youngster at Barcelona in FM (I think it might have been called championship manager back then) and he was another great young player before he rocketed up in real life. In truth, FM is actually a very accurate gauge of player ability in reality – a bit of a “go to” reference source.


Pjanic was a beauty wunderkind in the ~2010 edition. He turned into some player too. They dropped big money into their scouting Dept. So much so smaller teams used the game to find players to scout out allegedly.

Mr Dob Bobalina

I’ve seen a lot of promising youth players come and go. Not bothered at all. Patino is combative with very good first touch and bursts well with the ball into space but his passing for Blackpool doesn’t seem anywhere near ready for the Premier League to me. Proviso that I haven’t watched him live and he’s been playing in a poor team but I’ve seen a fair bit and his passing accuracy has often been very low indeed.

Went to the Youth Cup Final and I thought Nwaneri struggled. He’s playing above his age though.

Naked Cygan

Next season will be much harder to challenge for the title. This season Liverpool and Chelsea had an off season and I don’t see that happening again. With no European games Chelsea will push for a top 4 position for sure. I expect Newcastle to get even better next season with more money spent, so I just don’t think it will be easy next season but if we can keep our players and add a few more gems we should definitely make another title challenge. We just have to build on all the positives this season and improve on our… Read more »

Johnny 4 Hats

I get what you’re saying. But this is the premier league and we are on to get 90 points. That’s nuts, regardless of who did what. One big club, maybe even two, always has an off season. I don’t know why but I think Newcastle will stall for a year or two. They have grown so fast so quickly and I think they might be massively over-performing. As for Chelsea, they have got an absolute mountain to climb before the start of next season. I don’t think they go anywhere near the top next season. Tottenham are gone now. I… Read more »

Santi’s Thigh Grab

Naked’s glass is perennially half empty. We are anticipated to hit 90 but we are exceeding our xG by 13, top of the xG table. All the top teams exceed their xG. Citeh are at 11. This was season 3 in Arteta’s 5 year plan to win the league. Recruitment will be critical but so will Arteta getting the improvement out of the existing squad. Can’t wait for next season


The thing I love the most about Super Mik is his boundless ambition for our club and where it needs to be, paired with the ruthlessness and relentlessness to deliver his vision.

Above all else, that’s what makes me so calm and excited about our future, regardless of any bumps in the road.


He needs your support not when the sun is bright, but when the chips are down? Will you support him?


Exciting times ahead for us if MA believes the players are far from their peaks – I suspect some difficult decisions lie ahead this summer for Arsenal and some players we thought were essential might be moved on – interesting who will come in as speculation links us to everyone- can’t see us spending £120 million on Rice though – I am looking 👀 forward to the summer 🙂

Bleeding Gums Murphy

I think we got unlucky with centre back this season. Losing saliba and tomy was a massive blow. Kiwior definitely has potential to improve massively and be a very good defender. Saliba, Gabriel, kiwior, white, tomy. Not sure we will recruit. DM definitely needs adding to and hoping for too addition there. Centre forward desperately needed to challenge Jesus, who I think will will score a lot more goals next season. We need cover for him. Eddie is not at level required. He did well enough for us when Jesus got injured but in his last 5 consecutive starts he… Read more »


I have great faith in MA – he had a plan and has stuck with it, even when so many were writing him off and the pressure was on to change his approach. What concerns me is whether the board will back him properly in the transfer market. If MA has specific targets, we should strive to sign them or not bother at all. It took several years for the club to clear out the players we signed to fill in the gaps and the last thing we want is another Soares or another Willian. I am looking forward to… Read more »


There is no board. There is Stan. And Stan wants to increase value and the best way to do that is to win championships. He has two teams going for league championships right now. Arsenal of course and the nuggets.


We need big investment again in the summer.

Let’s hope Stan coughs up the necessary conkers and Edu pursues Arteta’s chosen targets speedily and ruthlessly.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

Money is no longer an issue. Getting the targets correct and getting them is the issue. As we climb higher, the margins of error on everything get tighter, including recruitment. In this next round we cannot afford any Sambi’s or Tavares. Nice players just not the quality we need to move higher up the table. Big transfer season for Edu and Mikel.


I still hope we can do it, though my head tells me that’s a fools dream.

Either way, I’m very excited for next season.


If Everton can at least hold those utter cunts to a draw tomorrow – and we tank Brighton for three lovely points – then it’s game on.

We need City to lose one and draw one (not impossible) OR draw three (way longer odds).

Keep the faith! 😊🍺🍺


Well, if this doesn’t get you looking forward to next season – before this one has even finished – then nothing will.

I think we can all safely say that with Arteta, Edu and Josh at the helm, the club is in good hands.

Haven’t felt like this about the management and board since the days of Arsene Wenger, David Dein and Peter Hillwood.



The biggest improvement that we have to make for next season is defensively. We have to stop leaking bad goals. The table never lies. We’ve scored 83 goals in just 35 games, which is excellent. What’s really hurt us is the 39 goals we’ve conceded. To win a title you need to be conceding no more than 8 goals every 10 games. In Spain, Barcelona have romped away with the title because they’ve let in just 11 goals in 33 matches: absolutely brilliant! I don’t like that Zinchenko inverted full-back nonsense: a defender should be able to defend. I was… Read more »


And 4 points dropped against West Ham and Liverpool after being 2-0 up in each of those games.


But don’t completely agree on the Zinchencko part. In the corporate world we call it as “risk n reward” — in essence he did bring a lot of points thru his attacking prowess but in the business end of the season his defensive frailties were exposed. It is up to MA how much risk is ready to take with Oleksandr next season. I think he should be circumspect & be selective and not completely lean onto either of KT or OZ


Great point.

It seems obvious to me that if we’re playing at Anfield or Old Trafford then KT has to start. You can get away with Zinchencko at home to Bournemouth or Fulham but against the best attacks the Ukrainian is easily found out. I still can’t get Liverpool’s equaliser at Anfield out of my head.

Man Manny

Yea, quite frustrating, that Southampton bit. We should have taken 6 points from them.


Which is why, much as I love Zinky, it’s vital we keep KT. If you use your head wisely in game management – and to be fair Arteta, for the most part has – you can use both in the course of a game. One to help establish a good lead, the other to then help shut up shop. It’s been a learning process for the manager, no doubt about it. If KT comes on for Zinky at Anfield at 1-2, we take all three points. All this talk of him (KT) going is therefore ridiculous, especially given that we’re… Read more »

Sir Matry

Funny how you were saying something compleatly different regarding Zinchenko and Theirney the other day.


I think Xhaka has reached his peak (and I do not for a second mean that as criticism)


He is 30, and in my mind his weakest link is his decision making. He can certainly improve, even if he gives up a little every year physically.


We’ll need his experience next season in the Champions League, make no mistake.

If you watched the Real Madrid / City game, you’ll understand why.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

Would you take Gundawan? His contract is up in the summer.


For what it’s worth, I still love this team.

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