Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta has described his side’s performance against Newcastle as extremely poor, saying that they are not at the level required for qualification to the Champions League. Mikel Arteta admitted Newcastle was ten times better than Arsenal, recognising that the Gunners’ performance on Monday’s defeat was far from that of a side who would like to compete in the Champions League. After 19 years in the Champions League, he has had no comeback from his Arsenal players since then, and Mikel Arteta feels that the Arsenal manager who replaced him, Arsene Wenger, was always right.
It was an underwhelming first season at Arsenal for Mikel Arteta, with Arsenal finishing eighth in the Premier League and missing out on qualifying for Europe. This past summer, six new signings helped Mikel Arteta remodel his team for the current campaign; they were now the favourites to finish fourth and guarantee Champions League football for next season. Mikel Arteta said that qualifying for the Champions League will be a turning point for Arsenal, insisting that they could still seal a place in the top four despite their poor run of three consecutive losses.
Arsenal went from having Champions League destiny in their hands to needing a miracle on the last day of the campaign following a 2-0 defeat to Newcastle that was more complete than Newcastle’s final scoreline suggested. Arsenals’ failure to turn up in the crucial moments — two wins from Arsenal’s last two games would guarantee them Champions League qualification in the group stages — has even led manager Mikel Arteta to wonder whether their youth has harmed them at the crucial stage of the season.
Newcastle got out to a fast start, buoyed by their supporters in their final home game of the season. In the 37th minute, Allan Saint-Maximin moved in from the wing to the outside of the box, but his low effort was palmed away by goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale. Newcastle took the lead quickly after the restart, with Arsenal defender Ben White diverting Joelinton’s cross into his own goal and Callum Wilson putting more pressure on the hosts’ swift counter-attack.
It appeared to succeed as Arsenal was indeed the leading candidate to finish in the top four of the Premier League with points and games in hand, but everybody knew one injury or two would ruin it. That turned out to be correct. Arsenal must only blame itself for its current situation by permitting Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to depart and failing to buy some other attacker or central midfielder. When Thomas Partey, Kieran Tierney, and Ben White were all injured, the Arsenal team’s defensive lack of depth allowed Rob Holding, Mohamed Elneny, Nuno Tavares, and Cedric to all get playing time in crunch time.