Arteta seeks consistency at floundering Arsenal in 'strange year'

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Premier League - Aston Villa v Arsenal

LONDON (Reuters) - Arsenal are finding it difficult to achieve a run of positive results in the Premier League as a number of factors have prevented them from fielding a consistent starting lineup, manager Mikel Arteta said on Friday.

Arsenal are 11th in the league after 23 games having lost 10 times -- the same number of games they lost last season.

The club leads the table, having picked up five red cards this season, while injuries and the absence of striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for personal reasons have also affected their preparations but Arteta said he was not looking for excuses.

"It is what it is. We have to adapt and we have other players trying to do the job," the Spaniard told reporters ahead of Sunday's home game against Leeds United, who sit a point above the London side.

"But at certain moments you need some consistency... you see all the successful teams, they have some consistency in the starting elevens and get that chemistry, that cohesion, that togetherness there. We haven't been able to do that.

"It's the context, it's COVID, it's a strange year, no pre-season -- a lot of factors. But I think we could still be in a much better place just looking at games we have won ourselves and what we have given away."

Arsenal have goalkeeper Bernd Leno and defender David Luiz available again after a one-match ban following their sending off at Wolverhampton Wanderers, but Thomas Partey (hamstring) and Kieran Tierney (lower leg strain) remain sidelined.

Arsenal's dismal form and league position has led to online abuse and Arteta said he had also been targeted.

"We're all exposed to it, that's why I prefer not to read it because it will affect me personally much more," he added. "We have to live with it. It's not going to stop tomorrow.

"It's not pleasant. When it goes personal against me I can take it, when the family is involved it's a different story."

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)