Mikel Arteta makes honest Unai Emery admission as Arsenal ‘hurting’ and ‘suffering’

Arsenal: Arteta confuses fans with statistical breakdown

Mikel Arteta has admitted the atmosphere within his Arsenal squad is similar to when former manager Unai Emery was sacked last year. The Gunners boss is under fire after the club’s worst start to a league season since 1974. 

Arteta was appointed Arsenal boss 12 months ago, replacing Emery with the club in eighth place after a five game winless run last autumn. 

After steadying the ship and winning the FA Cup, Arsenal have collected just 14 points from 14 games so far this campaign and hover perilously close to the relegation zone in 15th place. 

With rumours of dressing room unrest beginning to emerge, Arteta has accepted that the mood within the camp is as low as when his predecessor lost his job.

“We cannot deny there is a negativity around the team,” he said. “When you are in this position and we have the points that we have at the moment, you have to look and be careful.

“Last year when I came in, we were in a very similar position and the same talk was around the place. It’s normal.”

The Gunners are now winless in seven Premier League games and just four points off the dreaded dropzone. 

A previously unthinkable prospect of relegation becomes more of a reality with every defeat but Arteta is confident his players can turn their form around. 

He added: “We have to start picking up points and forget about it and start to look much further up the table.

“I think it is confidence-related. Sometimes those are moments you have to go through and it is difficult to explain.”

Arsenal’s problems have also extended off the pitch this campaign with upheaval behind the scenes involving staff layoffs and restructuring within the club at boardroom level. 

Arteta revealed that a conversation with the Gunners’ Life President Ken Friar warned him of the challenges ahead this term.

“Ken Friar has been here longer than anybody, 70 years,” Arteta said. “And he said: ‘Mikel. Believe me. It’s the most challenging and difficult year in Arsenal history.’

“I can take a lot of positives from things that we have changed, from two trophies won.

“The results now in the Premier League are taking a lot of the gloss off the things that we have done, for sure, and we have to accept that.”

Arsenal switch focus from the Premier League to the Carabao Cup tonight as they take on holders and Arteta’s former club Manchester City in the quarter final. 

The Spaniard sat on the bench at City as Pep Guardiola’s assistant for three years, helping the club win the trophy twice, along with two league titles and an FA Cup. 

Arsenal have beaten Leicester and Liverpool on route to the last eight and will be hoping to give their season a much-needed shot in the arm with a win over holders for a place in the semi-final.

“It’s not enough, isolating one competition,” Arteta said. “We have to play every competition to try to win. This is an opportunity to be one step closer to a trophy.

“But what we’re doing in the Premier League is nowhere near where we should be.

“We are hurting. We are suffering, because we care about this club. It’s time to fight back and give this club what it deserves.”

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