Arteta admits this Arsenal squad cannot challenge for Champions League next season

There is no doubt that Arsenal made a concerted effort to push Man City for the Premier League this season, until Arteta’s side collapsed drastically at the end and quickly watched our advantage get whittled away, and now we are likely to end up at least 8 points behind the Champions.

But in the Cups we were totally useless, dropping tamely out of the League Cup, FA Cup and Europa League as soon as we tried to use our backup players, but even with just one competition to focus on, we couldn’t keep up our high level as soon as the injury list started growing and reserve players had to step up to the plate.

So, naturally us Gooners are thinking that, even though we have happily qualified for the Champions League next season, it is quite obvious that our squad, as a whole, is far from adequate to challenge on all fronts. In fact Mikel Arteta agrees with us, and this is what he said when he was directly asked if he though his squad were prepared to cope with the extra top level games next season: “Today?” he replied. “At the level that we want, no.

“We didn’t have the capacity to do that with the Europa League. It’s part of that evolution. We have made a lot of good steps, strong steps in that journey. We have to continue. That never ends. We have to be better. The rest will be better. The demands will be higher. We have to start and live with those standards, improve and be smarter.

“That doesn’t just mean signing players. It’s to improve our players. There are players we haven’t had the best out of this season. It’s our job to improve them because there are a few players who haven’t had the minutes or the performances, and we have to seek for those players to give us a different edge. It’s not only about signing players. It’s about resources, staff and improving certain things that can be done better, more efficiently or smarter.”

That makes sense, as we can’t expect to buy a whole new 11 backup players, we have to find ways to get our underperforming backup players to try and grow to the level of our first team. This may not be all that easy, but we have to admit that last summer Arteta worked with his team, and they came back this seasonstronger and with renewed vigour.

Let’s see if he can continue working his magic this summer as well. I certainly hope he does!

Sam P

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  1. They are hollow comments from a manager that has demonstrated he is unwilling to utilise players that were outstanding for us just last season. I refer of course to Kieran Tierney and Emile Smith Rowe. ESR hit double-figures for goals last year in an inferior team to this season’s exploits, yet he can’t get ahead of Fabio Vieira?

    And now we are apparently making further raids on Man City for the players Pep has had enough of, so we can fill our ranks with all-be-it talented has-beens or Chelsea cast-offs.

    1. Maybe because Zinchenko and Vieira have minimum appearance or playing time clauses on their contracts, which made them start ahead of Tierney and Smith-Rowe?

      Aside from that, we don’t play with fullback when we have the ball due to our 3-2-4-1 formation. Tierney showed some improvement in the left DM position, but Zinchenko and Partey are still better than him in tight spaces

      Arteta has improved Saka, Martinelli, Odegaard and Xhaka. Hopefully he can improve Sambi-Lokonga, Smith-Rowe, Vieira, Balogun, Tavares and Nelson, if they still play for Arsenal next season

      1. Well, that’s my hope, too. I hope he does something different next season, I don’t want to see the inverted full back tactic again. It worked for the first half of the season, then everybody started doing and we stopped getting away with all the chances we conceded early on. Tierney is a better left back, so just play Zinchenko in midfield where he belongs.

  2. He is absolutely right will need to bring in at least 5 top quality players to even be competitive in the champions league that will cost in excess of 250 -300 mill to achieve that while I believe they will spend heavily doubt very much if they will go that far!

  3. If Viera, Tavares, Lokonga were good buys we would’ve been fine… along with selling players like Cedric, Pepe, Holding, AMN were sold earlier and replaced by 1 or 2 decent squad players again we would’ve probably been fine.

  4. Even Arteta himself cannot challenge for champions league next season with his predictable line up and tactics.

    His lack of flexibility and favoritism had given him out as a poor manager who is not capable of challenging for champions league.

  5. I think this is an honest assessment of where we are
    Of course we want to win every competition we are in but in reality it is impossible.
    In my opinion just to get out of the group stages and possible quarters would be progress
    To say we will win it is deluding ourselves
    If we cop a group of death which there is every chance we could then just getting out of the group stages will be hard enough
    AW got to 1 final In all his time a d look at the quality he had as a playing squad
    Pep with city to date still hasn’t won it and look how many goes he has tried with city
    Reality check pleaae

  6. Arteta has failed to use his playing resources as well as he ought to have done, partly because he is relatively inexperienced but more worryingly, because he displays an inherent stubbornness which rebounded on him but time at the business end of the season.Under his stewardship, we have recruited Lokonga, Vieira and Kiwior none of whom are likely to make it with Arsenal so when he casts doubts as to the strength of our squad, he should perhaps consider the part he has played when he assesses our weaknesses.His treatment of ESR and KT in particular has soured my attitude towards the Manager who has a hell of a lot to learn before he can hope to be successful.Tactically he seems entirely one dimensional and completely lacking in imagination.Perhaps I am being harsh as far as Kiwior is concerned, but there is absolutely no point in going for quantity rather than quality.

    1. Grandad
      I agree with your comments about Arteta’s man management. ESR scored double digit goals, played his best through the middle, and was great competition for Odegaard this year.

      Unfortunately, the club wasted 35 million on Vieira, who is a luxury purchase at best, and a flop at worst.

      How a manager can’t find game time for a great defensive LB like Tierney is hard to understand. The impression is that Arteta is married to the inverted LB idea in spite of being found out and exposed over our last several game collapse.

      At this point I see more of a check book manager like Pep who many rail against than a developmental coach that said to be.

      I agree with his one dimensional tactics, and has not learned to adapt or counter opponents in the 2nd half.

      He is a good coach, but not great. He has a stubborn streak and favorites among players, and I don’t see him changing

      1. I partially agree that MA should have been better on occasions with his game management but overall he has been pretty decent on the team
        ESR has been out injured for such a long time and hopefully he stays and he gets a good pre season in
        Verification has all the attributes in my opinion to be a decent player for us next season but first season syndrome and needs to beef up
        Believe a lot of people said that about pires and 2nd season he took the prem by storm
        Patience is a virtue
        We’ve waited 19 years so we all know about that

        1. I agree as well. He should have found time to get more of the players involved throughout the season, outside of the 5-10 minute cameo at the end of the game after it was sealed.

          I know ESR was injured, and the one game he played, even though he was definitely rusty, I felt he played well for his first game in months. Viera just looks like he will be better one the wing, especially because he always drifts out there.

          Man City has incredible squad depth, there is no denying that, but they also rotate players in and out of the lineup. That’s for resting players, creating competition, and trying different tactics.

          There are some players on the team that should probably be moved on, but when people say after one season or half a season a player definitely doesn’t have it seems short sighted. Players have to adapt to new teams, tactics, leagues, and languages depending on where they’re coming from.

          Players that come to mind to me are Grealish and Odeegard. No one wanted to sign Martin permanently and now he’s one of Arsenal’s best players. Everyone was laughing at the price tag of Grealish and his first 1 or 2 seasons with City until the business end of the season when he started to perform like he did at AV.

          I think Arsenal need to bring in quality players, but I also think there are a few that are ready to play first team minutes or more time to develop to their new situations. Most of the signings that have been made have a lot of versatility and that may mean in training they’re working out where they can fit into the team.

  7. I dont like to hear comments like this, it sends out all the wrong messages. Get the excuses in now!!!!!!!!!!!
    Please just be positive and put some positive spin on it, not negative. What is the dogs name? WIN!!!! Well lets talk like we are going to win and start from a good place, not negative.

  8. Arteta has made a reasonable and honest assessment of the squad’s level at the current time.

    1. What he hasn’t done is make a reasonable and honest assessment of his management skills at this current time .

  9. Speaking of cups competitions,every time we went out if one, some would try to find some silver linings (we can focus on the PL……).what I saw was one less opportunity for squad players to get some well needed playing time.

  10. Living in denial is Arteta saying we couldn’t challenge for the Europa League with the squad we have.

  11. The truth is Chelsea are going to have a better manager next season and City, Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool, Newcastle will all recruit and can outspend us, that’s why when I state we missed our chance I mean it. Getting Top 4 next season will be more impressive than finishing 2nd this year because we were fortunate that 3 out of the 5 big boys sucked so hard for so much of the season.

    1. It’s true our rivals will all surely improve next season, but so will we, and we definitely have the most potential and stability at the moment.

      Chelsea will have a huge problem offloading players. No European football, and a terrible owner means they won’t get the big names.

      Is Klopp coming to the end of his time at Liverpool? Plus no CL for them, meaning less funds and less attractive for incomings.

      Utd need a fair bit of work done to improve squad, but are starting to look decent going into next season.

      Spurs are a mess….as always, and no European football.

      Newcastle is the one that I think can really push us for 2nd next season. Quality manager, they’re doing things in the right way with transfers and policy.

      1. I think Liverpool will still attract the players even though they won’t have ECL because they will want to play for Klopp and realistically with the right recruitment are the nearest competitors to Man City. I don’t see us challenging for the league next season or any season as long as Arteta is in charge.

        1. We challenged for the league this season under Arteta, when not one person thought it possible. So why not again?

  12. It takes a squad to challenge for titles and trophies on several fronts.

    Until Arteta improves his man management; rotation and having true competitions for game time, nothing will change.

    If he continues to play his favorite 12 players, nothing will change. Even the best 12 can’t stand up to the rigors of a full season and play more than 45 or so games.

    Can’t always say players have to improve, the manager does as well. Look how Pep adapted over this season; lineups, formations, and tactics. Arteta has to widen his scope of management and tactics.

    Until that happens it’s just more rinse and repeat with new players.

  13. Arteta has been logical here. We cant just buy a back up XI who are as capable as the main XI. The back up players have to be improved and only than we could have a strong showing in all the competitions. Of course, I still think we need to add some more quality players specially in midfield, defence and striker positions.

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