Arsenal lacking confidence but not fight, says Mikel Arteta
LONDON - Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says his players may have lacked confidence but they still have the fight to get a result, as they hope to end a seven-game winless Premier League run when they take on Chelsea on Saturday.
The Gunners have lost five of those seven games and are languishing in 15th place, and they were also dumped out of the League Cup by Manchester City in a 4-1 home loss on Tuesday.
"You sense that we lacked confidence in certain moments, but for sure their fight is not an issue," Arteta told reporters after that match.
"The best medicine in these situations is to win a football match. Every defeat is another hurting moment, another disappointment, another moment that you have to lift yourself up, and that takes a lot of energy."
Some players have been criticised for their performance, but Arteta said the responsibility to turn things around fell on his shoulders and he would stand up for the squad as long as they remained committed.
"I have to (shield the players) and I will keep doing it when I see that they are trying their best," he said. "Whatever mistakes happen, I will support them till the last day."
Arteta said they could learn from Chelsea's response when they lost two in a row to come back with a win, but he also blamed "bad luck" for recent results which have seen Arsenal drop to four points above the relegation zone.
"We're trying to respond every week and for different reasons we're not picking up results. We should have won against Burnley, against Southampton, against Everton," Arteta said.
"We have to turn things around. This bad luck affecting our results has to change dramatically because with those margins it's very complicated to win matches in the Premier League."
Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remains a doubt with a calf strain, while winger Gabriel Martinelli will also be assessed after he sustained bruising to his shin.