Mikel Arteta might be a long-term project at Arsenal but with the thread of unfavorable results he has been recording at the North London club, his stay at the club might come to an end earlier than expected.
The club has been experiencing inconsistent results in all aspects of the season including the FA Cup where the club has always made a strong impact. Arsenal’s journey in the competition ended sooner than expected despite being the defending champions.
The same inconsistency has affected Arsenal’s journey in the Premier League where the club has suffered 12 defeats, 6 draws and only enjoyed 12 wins in 30 league games. Their inconsistency has forced them to remain on the 10th spot with 42 points, 10 points away from 4th placed West Ham United.
This means that Arsenal will not win any domestic title this season, it might be almost impossible for the club to make the top four, and they are not by any means a Premier League title contender this season.
The worst most Arsenal fans are scared of is seeing their club miss out on the Europa League if they can’t make the cut for UEFA Champions League for next season. And the surest way for them to make it to Europe ahead of next season is to win this season’s Europa League title.
However, Mikel Arteta and his boys are shaking in that aspect of the season. On Thursday, April 8, 2021, Slavia Prague visited the Emirates Stadium for the first leg of the UEFA Europa League quarter-final tie and Arsenal gave away a slim victory.
In the game, Arsenal’s Nicholas Pepe gave the Premier League club the lead in the 86th minute which the club could not defend for the rest of the game. The team blew away the chance of having a home win and clean sheet ahead of the return leg on April 15, thanks to Tomas Holes’ injury-time header which ended the game 1-1.
At the end of the game which saw Slavia Prague leave London with an away goal advantage, Arsenal’s coach, Mikel Arteta argued that the club did not switch off when Slavia Prague scored the equalizing goal.
“I think we made a bad decision, playing the ball into an area where we got trapped, and from there, we conceded the corner”, Mikel Arteta said. “Apart from that, I don’t think it is the case.
“What was missing is that when you create big chances in Europe, you have to take them. I think we merited much more than the result that we got.
“When we made the most difficult thing, which was to score the first goal and just wait for the last four or five minutes and manage the game much better than we did, we failed to do that and then we gave them the opportunity in the corner and they scored the goal to tie the match and [put us] in a different position. Looking back to what happened on the pitch, it’s not what we expect.
“The mentality of my team? No, I don’t have any concerns… If I didn’t believe we could go there next week and win the match, I wouldn’t be sitting here. The mindset is that they have to go there, score goals and win the game. We need to score if we want to be through.
“We’ve done it in the past and I’m sure we’ll be able to do it again.”
💬 "You're not going to have 10 chances. When you have those big chances you have to put them in the net."— Arsenal (@Arsenal) April 8, 2021
📺 Watch the full interview with the boss after tonight's #UEL action 👇
If Arsenal fail to beat or get a 2-2 draw against Slavia Prague on Thursday, Arsenal’s journey in the Europa League for this season would end. And if that happens, most of Arsenal’s fans would start calling for the sack of Mikel Arteta.
Recall that it was Slavia Prague that ended the journey of in-form Leicester City and in-form Rangers in the competition. If they successfully end the journey of Arsenal on Thursday, they will be a team to look out for in the campaign.