Shocking Arsenal start won’t force Mikel Arteta to change philosophy

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 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta insists he will never lose faith in his football philosophy as he bids to turn Arsenal's season around.

The Gunners travel to Manchester City tomorrow after losing their opening two Premier League games and, if they are beaten at the Etihad, it would be the first time they have lost their first three League matches since 1954-55.

Arteta has come under pressure following the poor start, with fans rounding on him as he drove away from the Emirates last Sunday.

But, asked today if he has questioned himself or what he is trying to do at Arsenal, Arteta replied: "No, not the direction.

"You have to be able to adapt. You have to be able to see what is happening and how can you help the team and the individuals with your speech, or with the way you communicate with them, or what you are demanding them to do, and adapt a little bit. But the direction is not going to change."

Arteta's belief in his ideas is borne out of his time working under City manager Pep Guardiola, who will be in the opposite dugout tomorrow.

Arteta was Guardiola's assistant before taking the Arsenal job in December 2019 and remains close friends with the City boss, who he first met as a teenager at Barcelona's academy.

Asked what was the most valuable thing Guardiola taught him, Arteta said: "First of all, that you have to believe in what you do and in any difficult moment you stick to what you do and the whole team, the whole club sticks to what we believe and all decisions I'm making all the time in that direction."

Since losing to Brentford and Chelsea, Arsenal have at least given themselves a lift by beating West Brom 6-0 in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.

Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a hat-trick at the Hawthorns, while Alexandre Lacazette, Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe also got in on the act.

Saka also took a knock to his knee but Arsenal confirmed this morning that the England international will be fit to face City.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Defender Gabriel has an outside chance of making the squad after recovering from the knee injury that forced him to miss the Olympics.

New-signing Ben White is due to miss out as he continues to recover from Covid, while Thomas Partey is still absent due to an ankle injury.

Given their poor start, Arsenal have not been short of critics but Arteta remains convinced he is the man to turn things around.

"I said before, that I cannot have more energy, more determination and more desire to turn things around," he said. "I think nobody has that more than myself at the moment.

"I am looking at it in the opposite way. When we are doing well, when people are enjoying, when people feel part of what we are doing, you get people happy — and when we have that power I just focus on that.

"There is always going to be people that are unhappy. I haven't see any single fan with a manager, with players, that are happy when we are losing football matches. It just doesn't happen and it is not realistic."

Arteta is well aware that Arsenal face a tough task at champions Manchester City and has told his team to get prepared to "suffer" as they try to get a result.

"It's the level that they read the game and the level that you have to be mentally ready for, to run for long periods of the game without touching the ball to sacrifice and being prepared to suffer in the right moments," he said.

"But as well, [it's about]having the conviction that we're going to have moments in the game and when those opportunities arise, we will have to take them and that's how I want to see the team.

"They are fully committed, fully prepared, and they believe that we can go to Manchester and get the result that we want."

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