Mikel Arteta may not have had his most productive of seasons in an Arsenal shirt this year, as injury problems as well as form and fitness issues have seen the Arsenal captain’s role on the pitch reduced to a bit part one of just two starts and 11 sub appearances.
Neither of those starts have been in the Premier League of FA cup either, the two competitions that Arsenal still have a chance of winning, unless you believe that we can produce the miracle of miracles against Barcelona at the Nou Camp next week. But the Spaniard still has an important part to play behind the scenes as he is the club captain.
That is why he is trying to keep all those around him from losing their heads and that does not just mean his team mates, but everyone connected with the club. I certainly get the impression that his comments on the Arsenal website this week were directed at us fans just as much as at the players.
It is the Arsenal squad and Arsene Wenger that will ultimately decide whether the fans are able to celebrate a double, a trophy or nothing at all at the end of this season and they all need to have their heads screwed on and approach each game in the right way for the campaign to end well. But Arteta knows all too well the adverse affect that pressure from the fans can have on the team.
He said, “This is something we have deal with very, very carefully because I think we have so much desire and ambition to win trophies like the Premier League at the moment.
“We are going to be there until the end but we need to find the balance between everybody to be helpful but not push too hard where we destroy that. We have to deal with that carefully as I still believe we have the potential to win and have everything required to win it.
“You don’t know how to deal with those emotions because they are our emotions, the staff and the fans’ and you sense that in the stadium. When a disappointment comes, it feels like the end of the world. You are going to have those ups and downs, everybody has had it.
“If we are talking about the start of the season after first few weeks, the league was over. Manchester City were going to win it, they didn’t conceded any goals and they were the best team by far and had the best squad and then we were.”
Arteta makes a good point here and even though it is hard for the fans to control their emotion it might just help the Gunners to pull off a remarkable end to the season and win the trophy that we all want. So can we just hang on to the abuse and the banners until such time as Arsenal are guaranteed not to win it?