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Arteta sends relegation message ahead of busy Christmas schedule

With Arsenal just four points above the drop zone, Arteta sends relegation message ahead of busy as usual Christmas schedule.

Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to one of Arteta’s former clubs, Everton, means that they have picked up just 14 points from 14 Premier League games this season – their worst start to a campaign since 1974-75.

Tuesday will mark one year and two days since Arteta left Man City to take over as Arsenal boss. The Spaniard has won the FA Cup and Community Shield in that time.

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Arteta will be hoping for some respite in the EFL Cup tonight, as cup competitions have provided a welcome distraction for Arsenal over the past decade or so, especially this season.

Progression to the semi-finals will be battled out at the Emirates, against his former employers, Manchester City.

When asked about the threat of relegation, the Spaniard said: “When you are in this position and you have the points we have at the moment we have to look and be careful because we haven’t been a lot of time in this position.

“I think last year when I came in we were in a very similar position and the same talk was around the place.”

“It’s normal because we need to start picking up points and then forget about it, start looking up the table much further.

“When you look at the table you start getting conclusions pretty quickly.”

It is nearly a year to the day since Arteta took charge at the Emirates Stadium, replacing Unai Emery.

The Spaniard has overseen 27 wins in his 51 games as boss, drawing 10 matches and losing 14.

The Gunners’ last win in the league came on Sunday, November 1 at Manchester United. They havent won at home since October 4, against bottom placed Sheffield United, winning 2-1.

Since that win, Arsenal had four successive home defeats before squeezing out a draw against high flying Southampton last time out.

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Arteta admits the past 12 months have been a challenging time for him and the club.

“I could think about a lot of challenges that we’ve been through this year for many different reasons,” he said.

“Some internally at the club, some externally with the pandemic, as well some results we’ve picked up in the last few months in Premier League.

“Probably I couldn’t imagine all the nice moments we had when I stepped in and I knew the challenges we were facing, that we were going through a couple of years or more.

“Some really positive highlights, [but] obviously now everything is looking a bit more negative because of our form in the Premier League.”

Asked if he felt it was an opportunity to kickstart the club’s season, the manager said: “This is what we want to use it for.

“As well this is a competition that we want to try to win. We had two difficult opponents before with Leicester and Liverpool.

“We managed to beat them both and now we’re playing at home, we’re one step closer to Wembley.

“It’s a really nice game for us to play because it’s the type of game we’re looking for through the season.”

Gary Neville, speaking on his skysports podcast chimed in on the posibility of Arsenal being relegated.

He said: “I don’t think they’ll get relegated but the fact we’re even discussing it and we’re seeing where they are in the league is a real problem.”

“We knew that when Arsene Wenger left there’d be a transition period and transformation in the club that would take some time.”

“There are elements of what happened at Manchester United is now happening at Arsenal as I think Mikel Arteta has demonstrated that he can coach a team and get them organised but something’s not right.”

“The big issue for me is that, towards the end of Arsene Wenger’s reign there was massive criticism of him and people accused the club of becoming stale, but the football was still pretty good, you still thought you’d see pretty good football when you went to see them.”

“The football’s now really bad. They’re not good to watch. We watched them at Leeds a few weeks ago and it was turgid. It’s methodical but it’s not Arsenal.

“It just looked very drab and that’s the one thing Mikel Arteta’s got to do in the next few weeks – results and performances may not come but he’s got to make sure the Arsenal players look like they’re enjoying themselves.”

He continued: “They just don’t look like they’re enjoying themselves on the football pitch.

“Watching the Everton game, I saw a team of players that were toiling and struggling with maybe how they’ve been asked to play, maybe they didn’t believe in the system or think the players alongside them are good enough.

“Something’s not right.”

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Neville says a lack of enjoyment can lead to a lack of commitment, which is why Arsenal are being outperformed by teams at the moment.

“They’ve got to start to look like they’re enjoying their football again,” he said.

“I know I didn’t always look like I was enjoying it as I was serious on the pitch but I loved playing in Sir Alex Ferguson’s teams, it was a thrill.”

“You watch Leeds, I don’t care if they lose as they’re committed. They love their football and they’re going for it.”

“Burnley play a different way but they’re a committed team.”

“You can see players have brought into it and Mikel Arteta has got to get those players buying into it again, the idea of going onto that pitch believing in that enjoyment and thrill of football.

“Arsene Wenger’s teams always had that. There was an element of unpredictability under Unai Emery where they looked like they were all over the place.

“Mikel Arteta’s team looks more rigid, more solid, but it’s a bit boring and they’ve got to get that out as you can’t bore.”

He added: “I always used to say you can win, you can lose, but you can’t be bored.

“I think most football fans are the same, they can watch their team win, lose or draw but they won’t accept being bored.

“To me, the Arsenal players at this moment in time look a little bored and the football they’re producing looks a real struggle.”

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