It’s been a torturous and horrendous start to the new season for Arsenal supporters.
Fans of the club have sat through a couple of convincing losses and one absolute drubbing, culminating in the Gunners languishing in the bottom two of the Premier League heading into the international break.
But don’t worry, Mikel Arteta has been living his best life over the past fortnight – and the coach has gone as far as to say that the past two weeks have been “the best I’ve ever had in football”.
Perhaps the highs of winning a football game went to the Spaniard’s head, but he was floating on air at full time on Saturday afternoon following Arsenal’s vital 1-0 win over fellow relegation-zoned Norwich City.
Arteta was full of praise for his players and everyone behind the scenes, while revealing that the entire club is pulling in the same direction, despite the glaring issues on the pitch.
Here are the best bits of what Arsenal coach had to say after stuffing the Canaries.
Arteta seems to have gone on some sort of spiritual journey over the international break, and he believes he has now found his ‘purpose’ as Arsenal manager.
“I must say, it’s probably been the best 10 to 15 days I’ve ever had since I’ve been in football,” Arteta said to the club’s media.” I’m not saying they were the easiest, but probably the best. You have to find a purpose for why you do what you do and why you’ve made the decision to be a football player or a coach.
“It’s all made sense in the last week or so. It’s about the relationship we have built. It’s about the level of trust that everybody at the club has. It’s about connections and emotionally how players react, how everybody in the team – and I’m talking about every department at the club – supports and tries to improve and be positive around the situation.
“You have to win football matches but, for me, that’s an absolute joy to watch, how everybody has been behaving around the context that we had around us.”
The Spanish boss also confessed he had ‘doubts’ over how the fans would respond on Saturday afternoon, but he thanked them for their support throughout the match.
“I had doubts, I had question marks because I had to read and I had to understand and I had to reflect a little bit on different opinions and criticism. I don’t know how much they’re going to be affected. I think the club has been extremely open to send a message across of what we are trying to do.
“I had a question mark, I have to be honest. But I just saw incredible fans trying to inspire a team, trying to tell them ‘we are ready to suffer with you and we’re going to support you’. The rest, it doesn’t matter. I’m extremely grateful and I got pretty emotional to see that because I think it’s pretty difficult to see in football.
“People are maybe expecting something or they want to go down other roads and try to transmit hate or whatever, and it wasn’t the case at all – so thank you so much.”
Arteta was then asked for his opinion of the Gooners’ lighthearted chants of ‘we are staying up’, after picking up their first points of the season. He was less thrilled with the home crowd at this point, you might suspect.
“I didn’t hear that but if it was done in a funny way, you have to accept it.”
So, is everything coming together? Can we begin to trust the process? Well, Arteta believes victory over Norwich was ‘just another step’ on their journey together.
“I started to see signs many months before. Today you saw a different team, with different names, with different qualities – just different. We want to change things, we want to improve things and we know what we want to get. Today was just another step.
“We want to be up there with the best in this country, and be the best like when we have been one of the best in terms of performances and trophies. That is our only aim.”