LONDON – If you type ‘what are Arsenal?’ into a search engine the recap to this West Ham – Arsenal game will pop up. Somewhere Mikel Arteta is scratching his head.
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This game perfectly summed up where Arsenal is at in Arteta’s first full season in charge.
Ridiculous to sublime. Awful to excellent. Shambles to sensational. Midtable place in the Premier League to quarterfinalists in the Europa League.
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Arsenal were 3-0 down after 30 minutes and it could have been more, as Mikel Arteta’s side were asleep early on. They then sprung into life and looked like they could score with every attack.
But they were already 3-0 down.
Speaking to reporters after a pulsating clash at the London Stadium, Arteta didn’t quite know what to make of his team as he lambasted their early mistakes as ‘unacceptable’ but lauded their ‘best 60 minutes they have played in tough conditions’ as Arsenal show ‘two faces’ in one game.
ProSoccerTalk asked if making mistakes is just part of the process and if, eventually, complete displays will arrive.
“That is what keeps me awake!” Arteta laughed. “It has happened too many times. Too often. At this level you cannot do that because the opponents are so good and the margins are not that big. The other one is a positive one is the level we played afterwards.”
Arsenal heading in right direction, but plenty of bumps remain
Arteta is clearly hammering his philosophy into the players day in, day out and says the culture is where he wants it to be.
The play on the pitch has to be consistent for 90 minutes, though. That is the hard bit.
“I’m not worried about the culture because we’ve come so far on that and I’ve seen so many positive things to be consistent with what I’m saying,” Arteta said. “Today was one of those, completely different reactions with each other as a team. The energy, the belief, the togetherness. I’m not worried with that. I’m worried at the levels we can show in the game and that’s where we’ll still so far from the top teams.”
Nine points off the top four and in the UEFA Europa League last eight, Arsenal’s season can still go in either direction in the final months.
Good luck on guessing how it will end up, because Arteta and Arsenal haven’t got a clue.