Mikel Arteta’s brutally honest assessment of “not acceptable” Arsenal struggles

Mikel Arteta has admitted Arsenal’s losing run has felt like a “stab in the chest.”

Arteta was brutally honest in his assessment as he admitted results have been “unacceptable”, he took responsibility as well as the players and confessed he expected the club to have made better progress.

Arsenal have lost their last three Premier League home games, they are stranded in 14th place and the defeat to Wolves on Sunday means it is their worst ever start to a Premier League season.

Gunners boss Arteta said: “When you lose two games, three games at home, three games, it’s like ‘wow’, it’s like having a stab here in your chest.

“It’s not acceptable and we have to change it – we can say ‘yeah but the referee did that, he didn’t score, we should have done that’ … but this is where we are, let’s change it.

“Even when we were winning we were still a long, long way from what I want. And when we’re losing you obviously see things even further.

Arteta’s men have been doing well in the Europa League however

“I expected to be a little bit further than we are in the table, a bit further than what we’ve done in certain games where we could have deserved more as well. But the worst thing is when you say: ‘what if, what if.’

“This is our reality, in the end we can find excuses and I hate to do that. We are here, let’s get out of this situation, let’s face that challenge and let’s move on, and that’s it.

“The first one to take responsibility is obviously me, and then obviously all the staff, all the players.

“Let’s be supportive, be adamant and to be with the level of conviction that we’re going to to take this through together.

“That’s the only way.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Emirates Stadium on November 29, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s poor form continued on Sunday

Arsenal face Rapid Vienna in the Europa League and will be the first Premier League club to welcome back fans into their ground – albeit for a European game – with 2,000 supporters allowed in to the Emirates.

It might feel like a double edged sword as Arsenal undoubtedly miss the support and yet they have also not been there to witness those back-to-back home league defeats to Leicester, Aston Villa and Wolves.

But Arteta said: “I’ve really missed them and we can talk about the difficult moments we’ve had but when we’ve had really good moments, with them it would have been even more special and then they would have generated that connection with the team.

“I can only see positives and I expect them to be very supportive of the team because in the end it’s the only way to get out of this situation.

“And it’s not a secret – when you see the top teams, the stable teams, the teams that win trophies, how they act and how the support acts towards the team, you name me one where they go against the team. I haven’t seen it, so the only way to do it is with them and we need them.”

Arteta did admit that – just like Aston Villa boss Dean Smith – he relieves the pressure by taking his dog Arnie for a walk. But Arteta joked to the journalists on the Zoom call: “Don’t get close to him. If the question is bad, he can be dangerous!”

Arsenal (probable): Runarsson; Cedric, Mustafi, Holding, Maitland-Niles; Xhaka, Elneny; Pepe, Smith Rowe, Nelson; Lacazette

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