Arsenal have long list of reasons that caused slump, says under-pressure Arteta
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Mikel Arteta concedes everything that could go wrong at Arsenal is going wrong.
In an astonishing assessment of the crisis engulfing the North Londoners, the under-fire Spanish coach has identified numerous issues behind the struggles.
Arteta’s future appears to be hanging by a thread – with this Thursday’s Europa League semi-final second leg against Villarreal absolutely critical..
After turning up the heat on despised owner Stan Kroenke before the recent league defeat to Everton, the fans are now directing their anger at the young manager.
The Gunners 2-1 away loss to Villarreal on Thursday sparked a backlash from the supporters – in particular the decision to play without a recognised striker.
And it is unlikely Arteta’s latest response to why his side have been so dreadfully inconsistent throughout 2020-21 will do much to appease the growing unrest.
According to the former Arsenal and Everton playmaker, the problems stretch right across the park – from back to front and vice versa.
Arteta, who started against Villarreal with strikers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Gabriel Martinelli on the bench, said: “It’s many different reasons.
“Consistency in our results in the Premier League is very different to the Europa League, where we have been very consistent.
“In the league we haven’t been for many reasons. One of those is the line up; another is the amount of errors that we have produced in key moments.
“Another, I’d say, is the lack of effectiveness in the final third to kill games off.
“Another is because the opponent has sometimes been better. “
Wow. Not much there to fill the faithful with optimism ahead of that must-win return with Villarreal – coached by Unai Emery, the man Areta replaced in the Emirates dug-out in December 2019.
And they will be especially concerned to hear Arteta identify a constantly changing starting eleven as a key factor in the dismal form.
After all, that often has been down to the manager’s choice rather than a crippling injury list deciding it for him.
Take naming Brazilian hitman Martinelli as a substitute three days ago in Spain as a prime example.
Yet Arteta denies the teenager has not been given a fair crack at leading the line lately.
“Well, he has started some games – and he has done that recently,” claimed the ex-Manchester City assistant boss.
“But you need to have balance in the team in many senses and people have to miss out. “
Whatever the take on the overall picture, Arteta is acutely aware the knives are being sharpened for him – not for the first time this season.
With 13 league defeats already before today’s trip to Newcastle, it could well be that anything less than winning the Europa League signals the end of his rollercoaster reign.
However, Arteta, who led the club to FA Cup glory last August, is refusing to contemplate the worst.
He added: “I don’t want to think that way. I want to think that we’re going to be in that final – with really positive consequences after that.”
- Europa League
- Premier League
- Unai Emery
- Arsenal FC
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