Mikel Arteta trusts Arsenal’s ‘transition’ to go one better in title race

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta looks on during their Premier League match against Newcastle United

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta looks on during their Premier League match against Newcastle United. Photo: Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via AFP

Published Dec 1, 2023


Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said he is pleased his side have evolved from last season despite criticism that the Gunners lack the same spark.

Arteta's men sit top of the Premier League and are into the last 16 of the Champions League after thrashing Lens 6-0 on Wednesday.

But that display of attacking prowess has been a rarity this season as Arsenal have relied on their defensive solidity to move to the top of the table.

Four of their nine Premier League wins have been by a 1-0 scoreline, including last weekend's at Brentford.

By contrast, an unexpected title challenge by Arteta's men last season was built around the explosive form of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard.

But Arsenal eventually fell short of a first league crown in 19 years as Manchester City stormed clear in the final weeks of the season.

"This team is going to be different to last season and hopefully very different to next season," said Arteta on Friday.

"That's part of the evolution. Leaving some of the things in the past to the new things. That has a transition.

"We want to still be competitive and win matches and I think the team is competing really well."

Wolves travel to the Emirates on Saturday hoping their luck will turn after a series of controversial refereeing calls have gone against them this season.

Arteta also fumed after Arsenal's 1-0 defeat Newcastle last month, branding the decision to award Anthony Gordon's winning goal as "embarrassing" and a "disgrace".

But he disagreed with Wolves boss Gary O'Neil, who said he has now given up on VAR and would like it removed from the game.

"I think we can improve it and we are trying to do that," Arteta added.

"Technology is taking a huge responsibility in games and it needs time.

"If we use it the right way - we are listening to people, we are open, we are humble and we are trying to be constructive — I think we will get to a really, really good place."