Mikel Arteta attempted to rally his Arsenal troops last month in their pursuit of a top-four spot – but, while they showed signs of improvement, their recent form has been worrying
Mikel Arteta admitted last month that Arsenal can’t “feel sorry” for themselves – but his pep talk has seemingly backfired after the Gunners’ recent struggles.
The north Londoners were in cruise control and overwhelming favourites to take fourth spot, and they even had Chelsea looking over their shoulder in third place before the start of last week. But consecutive losses against Crystal Palace and Brighton has shaken Mikel Arteta‘s side.
They face a much tougher run-in than Tottenham too, as they have left themselves with a mountain to climb if they are to claim back fourth spot. But Arsenal cannot feel sorry for themselves again, and Arteta himself has already called for a ‘change in dynamic’.
Arsenal have gone from being one of the best form teams in the Premier League, to a laughing stock within two weeks, as fans of rival clubs have poked fun at the Gunners for essentially handing their rivals a golden opportunity. Arteta’s side must now better Tottenham’s results until the end of the season if they are to claim fourth spot back from their rivals.
But they still have to face Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham between now and the end of the season, whereas Spurs only have to face two of the ‘big six’. Arsenal have gone form scoring freely and playing with pride, to withering against lower league opposition, and they no longer have a stride in their step.
However, Arteta has already claimed that he hates when his team feels sorry for themselves, and fired a message towards his squad before they faced Liverpool back in March. That attempt to rally his troops has seemingly backfired – but their season is not over and Arsenal have every chance of finishing in the top four.
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Arteta said: “I hate that feeling, of feeling sorry for ourselves. Of saying ‘oh, this is happening to us again’. A lot of things happen, and when they happen we have to find the reason why.
“If we don’t want it happening again we have to do something about it because if we keep doing the same thing then I expect the same thing – or worse – to happen, because we already have a history. So we have less margin to suffer, because we have already been there.
“We have to change that dynamic completely and look at what we can become and how we are going to do it. If we put all the effort and energy there, the rest will take care of itself.” Rather than just accepting defeat, Arteta has urged his side to take control, and if nothing else, go out with a fight.
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Ever since legendary boss Arsene Wenger left, Arsenal have just rolled over and accepted defeat in the big moments. But if we really are going to ‘trust the process’ under Arteta, he has to get his side firing and prove everyone wrong.
Sure, they lost two games that they were expected to win, or at least avoid defeat in, but that’s old news now. There may have a difficult period coming up, but what better way to make a statement, and prove that this isn’t the same Arsenal team as before.
The first test is away to Southampton on Saturday, before they face a Chelsea side who will spend this week focusing on competitions elsewhere. If they can come out of those matches unscathed, then Tottenham too will be starting to panic, and the race will be on. If they crumble though, then it will be another summer of scrutiny for Arteta.