Sunday, May 19, 2024

“I’m fully behind them” – Arteta rallies Gunners for Wolves test

Defeats to Aston Villa and Bayern Munich in the space of a few days may have left Arsenal’s season hanging by a thread but with a league title still in play, there’s no room for self-pity. 

A win over Wolves on Saturday would put the Gunners top of the table again and three points against Chelsea on Tuesday would further up the ante on Manchester City and Liverpool, albeit in the knowledge our rivals have games in hand. 

“As an experience, it wasn’t the best one,” said Arteta in Friday’s press conference. “Obviously, a defeat in the league, a defeat in the Champions League. Now we’re fully focused on the times that we have ahead of us with six games to go. We are a game behind City [editor’s note – not true!] and we’re going to have a real goal. 

“The context is clear. If we win [at Wolves], we are top of the league. That’s the context. If you need anything else to be motivated, if you need anything else to go into that game with your mind clear or the purpose very, very clear, you have a problem.”

After collapsing in the final weeks of last season, critics have been quick to pounce on Arsenal’s latest untimely blip as evidence that the club are perennial bottlers. That seems pretty unfair, but it’s clear Arteta’s young squad are still learning to deal with the pressure that comes with challenging for major honours.

“Obviously it’s been a very intense journey. When you’re at the top and you are fighting with such a level, you know that you’re going to have to go through that,” said Arteta. 

“This job, this industry is constantly testing your resilience. It’s constantly testing your ego. When things go well, when things don’t go well, and you all the time have to be recycling that and you have to be able to navigate and go through those moments in a natural way, understanding the context and looking at the positives.

“That’s the best thing you can do because that’s the one that really helps. Learn and look forward.”

On how this week’s games have panned out and the situation Arsenal now find themselves in, he added: “It is what it is, we have to accept it. I think the two games, especially the Bayern one at home, at the beginning, it could have been very different. 

“The Villa game, I reviewed it three times, I think we were the better team, we should have won the game, we didn’t. The second half, we paid the price for the chances that we gave them. We have to move from there. 

“And now it’s about showing against Wolves what we are made of and turn the situation around. And the turnaround can look really, really positive for us.”

Keen to lift his players, he also had this message: “I’m fully behind them. Thank you so much for the journey that we are on together, thank you so much for being in April and competing in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and being so close. 

“And thank you so much for competing against the best team in the history of the Premier League, and the best team in the last eight years in this competition with Liverpool, and to be there with a chance to win it. So thank you so much for everything that they’ve done because it’s unbelievable.”

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C.B.

Love the positivity! Let’s hope it enthuses the players.

Ebo

Honestly the last two defeats have been so deflating because we’ve been waiting for so fucking long for a major trophy, that it’s easy to lose track of reality and see the glass half empty. On the surface if we don’t win the league this year it looks like we haven’t made progress compared to last season. In reality we’re dealing with such fine margins here, that even the fact we’ve managed to compete so closely with a club like City despite having a fraction of their resources now *two* years in a row is kind of a miracle, and… Read more »

Heavenly Chapecoense

Why is Arteta thanking the players so emphatically at this point? Can’t he wait for the last game? Players will feel they failed the season already, and this is accepted by the manager.

Goonshow

You really need to send that Psychology degree back to the mid-west bible college you bought it from, mate.

Spanner

If our fans can’t be positive about our situation they should probably take up a different sport to follow.
Seriously fine margins at thos level and one mistake can cause a derailment.
Raya’s positioning for the first Bayern goal caused the defence to get rattled which lead to a second and then chasing the game, which cooked us for the Villa game.
Start again lads and put some distance between us and Shiteh, make them catch up.

Norwegian Wood

The reason we conceded the first goal was because Martinelli missed his runner. He let Kimmich run past him into that space. How could that possibly be on Raya who turned Shane’s dangerous cross away moments before.

Daveo

He’s talking about at home, but even that is a stretch. Raya is exceptional at sweeper actions, he was coming, saw Gabriel had it, which removed the backpass option. But Gabby still made a mistake. He could have cleared it out or just passed it better, but Kiwior also made a mistake by not coming to the ball (exactly what Zinchenko would have done) and I don’t really think Kiwior’s effort at taking the pass was very good. Once those things happened Bayern sliced and diced on the break, which we should have been better prepared for against them in… Read more »

A Different George

Not sure, but I think you are each talking about a different game–Spanner is talking about the home match and you about the game in Munich. I think the first goal at home was mostly Gabriel’s fault. Yes, Raya’s positioning rattled him, but he had lots of safe options–at worst, he could easily have kicked the ball into touch. On the Munich goal, I think Martinelli, after tracking his man back brilliantly (as he did all game), then missed Kimmich’s run allowing the header. But, in fairness, if that had been a cutback from Gabriel Jesus to the onrushing Ben… Read more »

Daveo

The goal was soft (missing the run) but I agree somewhat excusable because Martinelli was tracking back well all game (going forward was where he was poor). The response to the goal was not good enough – never looked for a moment after Bayern scored that the players actually believed they could get a goal and get back into the game. If we came at them like a house on fire with chance after chance after the goal and didn’t score, I would have been bummed, but happy with the effort and desire; how we rolled over was the most… Read more »

Goonshow

Slightly over-simplified… the defenders proper were asleep on Kimmich’s run. Yes, Marti was tracking and should have followed through, but the defenders’ job is to provide the ultimate cover, which they were woefully AWOL from!
And Ben’s tired attempt to block the cross was really the root cause of everything. He’s 4 inches earlier and the the threat doesn’t even arise.

Daveo

So if we don’t agree with you on how we feel after these two losses, we’re not Arsenal fans? Why should we not expect more in big moments (particularly in such winnable games)? We don’t start winning trophies until the team can deliver in these big moments. We now have 6 must win games to have a chance and hope $ity draws one game (although, it seems likely $ity will win all six). Are you really blaming the “chasing the game” extra effort in a champions league 1/4 final on a loss against Villa in which we had an extra… Read more »

Futsboller

I think he’s responding more to the “burn it all down” fans who can only rant and rave when faced with disappointment, not exactly your more reasoned position that we weren’t good enough and it is terribly frustrating to wait for this team to reach the maturity level need to win the biggest prizes in the game.

Daveo

I think that’s the biggest compliment you’ve ever given me…thanks [insert blows kiss emoji]

Zack

I’m not feeling positive exactly because I don’t believe we will win anything this year.
But I certainly appreciate how good the team is now; it is extraordinarily good.

Vonnie

The third sentence and the resulting discussions are surely unnecessary at this point. I’m so bored of this arguing over the minutiae of whose fault it was all the time, there have been plenty of other articles for that. Your first point is absolutely right, we should be positive about the improvement and yes, we need to start again, let’s move on and all support the whole team, there’s still points to fight for and who knows what can happen.

BillyKrystal

I like to think MA watched the Villa game 3 times in a row beginning immediately after the game. Perfect opportunity to undergo his yearly 6 hour hair hardening procedure.

Gordy

I’m sure this will not be viewed favourably but is it time to give the other goalie a go? Right I’ll duck.

Kevin

I with you Raya is not an upgrade on Ramsdale

Sean

Considering a massive part of our defensive improvement this year has been Raya’s ability to take up the higher positions that Ramsdale simply can’t… no we absolutely shouldn’t be doing that at this point. And anyone who uses the anomaly of that Bayern moment as a counter-point had also better duck for cover…

Jesus of Sao Paulo

I have thought of this chant for Martin Odegaard, I hope someone here picks it up and shares with mates going to the game – especially with the Ashburton Army. (it’s a shame I can’t myself because I am in Nairobi, Kenya – but I watch every game and love them chants for our boys). Cheers!

(to the tune of Spiderman song):
Odegaard, Odegaard
Super Captain Odegaard
He can dribble, he can pass
See him shoot, see him score agaaain…
That’s Martin Odegaard!

FMT

i like this!

Old bloke

Saturday is a must win game. Let’s just get the three points even if its a scrappy one nil to the Arsenal! Hopefully we will all get behind the team and stop the negative vibs.

Daveo

They’re all must win. To even have a chance we need 18pts from the last 6…even then it probably won’t be enough as $ity have a far easier run and in all likelihood they also take 18pts. Say what you will about those fuckers, but they know how to close out a title race.

Old Bloke.

*vibes

T.H.

It’s a mistake for fans to keep repeating the mantra that Man City are an unstoppable machine (and clearly a mistake for that to enter into players’ heads). The PL is not lost. Consider this: the team starts playing as if the season were already over (as far too many fans assume) and then Man City drops points in one of their final six matches. That would be the real failure.

Shubham

The way it was upto Leverkusen to shed their Neverkusen tag, it’s upto us to shed the serial bottlers tag. It requires us to win a title and this is the time!

Goonshow

The first step in shedding the ‘serial bottlers tag’ is for numpties on here to STOP giving it oxygen!
This team is streets ahead of where we were just a few seasons ago. And they are getting incrementally better with each season, and on every level.

Enough with the ‘bottlers’ bullshit – we’ve been running City to the edge all season… we shut them out completely on their own patch… and we’re still in it.

Arsenalfanthem

Any other era and we wouldn’t be so deflated about being 2 points behind, but we’re competing against a team that rarely slips at this time of the season, especially with the kind of matches they have upcoming and the big matches we still have to play. Incredibly fine margins and the fact we’re still in it is a testament to the progress we’ve made. I’m still deflated but we have to get behind the team and believe they can do it.

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