In a very lengthy interview, Arteta answered a wide range of questions that covered Bernd Leno, Martinelli, Southampton and more. See the full transcript from Arsenal.com.
Prior to the lockdown, Arsenal saw themselves boast the record of being the only team to not have lost in 2020 domestically. They were getting points out of each game, and found themselves facing a tough but plausible gap to achieve something with their season in the vein of European qualification.
After suffering back-to-back away defeats to Manchester City and Brighton, that dream of top four seemed all but finished. During this interview, Arteta spoke on this topic when asked if top four was still an option.
“We will see the reaction now. When you are winning two or three games in a row, it’s easy, when you lose one it becomes a little bit more difficult. When you lose two in a row, two very different games that are completely different to asses, I want to see that reaction and how much they want it and how they’re going to react as a team as well as how they’re going to react as individuals and go for it.”
It’s not really an answer. In fact, it arguably is avoiding the answer that seems most apparent. No, top four is hardly reachable. But Arteta is right in shifting people’s attention to how the team reacts to adversity. With a squad of young players, facing adversity and overcoming it quickly is a major step. Good teams don’t go on slides of games where they lose.
In response, Arteta was asked what the confidence level of the team was. A question in which he again shifted the mindset.
“It’s not about the confidence, it’s about being upset and when you know that it has been your fault to lose a game. I think it helps much more. I see the players willing to get back on Thursday and transform this into a win and everything will be looking much, much better. But at the same time, as a group we have to be dealing with this situation and throughout the season you’re going to lose one or two games on the trot, but it will be how do you react.”
Arsenal will certainly need a major reaction to put themselves back on the right track. Despite European qualifications feeling like a long shot through the league, the FA Cup is still a route that Arsenal can navigate themselves down. To do that, it will take a run of better team performances starting Thursday.