Mikel Arteta: After losing the title, Arsenal’s manager thought about staying in the Premier League
After last season’s title disappointment, Mikel Arteta thought about leaving his position as manager of Arsenal, but in-depth “reflection” convinced him to stay.
The three draws against Liverpool, West Ham, and Southampton cost the Gunners their five-point lead over Manchester City in the Premier League.
The London team lost badly against City in their subsequent match, and City went on to win the title by five points over Arsenal.
Arteta reflected on his summer, “The first few weeks, very tough,”
“The first thing you need to do is take a good look at yourself and ask yourself whether there is anything you might have done differently or better. If so, take note of it and go forward.
“Consider whether you are still the best candidate to move the club and the team ahead in the manner you desire. Do you have the zeal and the conviction necessary to do so?
“It took a lot of thought, but the answer is yes, and I feel very energised and optimistic.”
Arsenal had 2-0 leads against Liverpool and West Ham during the race for the title, but both teams were held to draws. Winger Bukayo Saka also missed a penalty attempt while his team was leading 2-1 against the Hammers.
Before suffering a devastating 4-1 loss at City, Arsenal needed two late goals to preserve a 3-3 draw against a Southampton team that ultimately lost its playoff spot.
When asked what separated City from his team, Arteta responded, “Momentum. When things should have gone one way in the crucial moments—and in many instances throughout the season, it did—it didn’t go that way.
“It was one, two, three, and then our momentum was lost, and their momentum gained.
“You are talking about a squad that has the ability to win 25 games in a row, so momentum and confidence are the last things they need, and we gave them that.
“We had certain games that we lost, particularly the three draws we had when the momentum changed.
“We had everything it took to win those games; the decision was in our hands. We should have won those games.
“They were crucial times when we simply weren’t ruthless or clinical enough, didn’t have the luck, or committed specific errors that made that possible. We must acknowledge that as well.
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On Sunday, City will meet Arsenal in the Community Shield. Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan left Pep Guardiola’s team this summer, but Arteta cautioned against concluding that a cycle has come to an end.
Arteta, who worked under Guardiola at City before taking over at Arsenal in December 2019, said, “I’ve heard that a few times in the last seven years and they’ve won five titles.
Knowing the manager and the club’s staff, I don’t believe that will be the case.