Mikel Arteta admits he expected Arsenal’s progression to ‘be a bit further’ down the line following the club’s disappointing start to the season.
Arsenal have lost three consecutive home games with last weekend’s 2-1 defeat to Wolves confirming their worst ever start to a Premier League season, the Gunners currently sitting 14th in the division having lost five of their opening 10 fixtures.
Their poor performances have halted the momentum gained from Arteta’s first half-season in charge, in which the north London side showed significant signs of progress and finished the season by beating Chelsea in the FA Cup final.
Arteta admits the club’s regression is concerning and says he expected more from his side this season, before urging his Arsenal players to embrace the ‘challenge’ of reviving the club’s fortunes in the coming weeks.
“I expected to be a little bit further than we are in the table, and a bit further with what we’ve done in certain games where we could have deserved more,” Arteta told a pre-match press conference ahead of their game against Rapid Vienna.
“But the worst thing [to think] is: ‘What if?’ This is our reality. In the end we can find excuses but 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.”
Arteta underlined his disappointment with their start by insisting their current position is ‘not acceptable’, before admitting he and his side must take responsibility for their struggles so far this season.
“It’s not acceptable and we have to change it,” he said. “We can say, ‘Yeah but the referee did that, he didn’t score, we should have done that’, but this is where we are.”
Arsenal’s clash with Rapid Vienna tonight will see the Gunners become the first Premier League side to welcome back fans, with 2000 supporters expected inside the Emirates for the Europa League clash.
Arteta is likely to rotate his options with Arsenal already qualified for the knockout stages having won each of their four fixtures to date, the north Londoners needing just a point this evening to secure top spot in Group B.