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Arteta warns Arsenal face season-defining fortnight in Premier League and Europe


Mikel Arteta has warned his Arsenal players they face a potentially season-defining fortnight.

The Gunners take on Leeds today, followed by Benfica, Manchester City, Benfica again and Leicester before the end of the month.

And boss Arteta wants to see them finally find the sort of consistency which has eluded them throughout the campaign.

He said: “It’s going to be crucial.

“We don’t have any margin now in the league and, in the Europa League, they are knockout games, so the moment you don’t do what you have to do you are out.

“First of all, we have to improve our position in the league dramatically, and in order to do that we have to win a lot of football matches.



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“How many will depend on what the opponents do because at the moment it’s not in our hands.

“We need to get into Europe, into a really, really close situation where we can compete for that ‘trophy’, because that’s going to be key as well to see where we can compete in which competition next season.”

Arsenal have managed back-to-back wins just twice this season, in the Premier League and FA Cup.

Arteta added: “We have talked since the start of the season about what we are lacking is the consistency to do it every three days and keep winning and winning and winning.






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“We had a really good patch in the last seven games when we won a lot and just drew one and didn’t concede many goals, and then we ended up losing the last two games in an incredible way.

“The margins when you win and lose games are really thin and, when it’s down to you, you cannot make those mistakes.”

Arteta has been in charge for 14 months and, while he made a good start, winning the FA Cup and Community Shield, many statistics surrounding his reign compare unfavourably with predecessor Unai Emery’s and, for that matter, recently sacked Chelsea boss Frank Lampard.



Frank Lampard was axed by Chelsea despite having a better win percentage than Mikel Arteta

The pair had a win rate of 49 per cent compared with Arteta’s 42 per cent, and both averaged more goals, shots and passes per game than the Gunners boss.

But Arteta said: “I see how the team is developing.

“The biggest way to look at it is when we play a team in the first leg in the Premier League and then when we play them again.

“The game we played against Aston Villa at home and the game we played against Aston Villa a few days ago, and if we compare the way we played against Aston Villa away last season in June, it’s a completely different team.



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“Is it going to take time? Yes, I said it from the first minute.

“Do I see a lot of progress in many areas? Yes.

“But the margin for improvement is still enormous and I said that from day one, and when we were winning against big teams and winning trophies.”

Arsenal’s Europa League games will take place in Italy and Greece.

Arteta added: “It’s different rules.

“Playing at home in Greece sounds a little bit crazy but it is what it is and we have to accept it because we all want to play in the competition and right now it is the only way to move forward.”





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