LONDON: Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta admits his side desperately need to restore the feel-good factor at the Emirates with a victory over West Bromwich Albion today.
Arsene Wenger’s team are on a miserable run of two wins from their last nine matches in all competitions and, after seven years without a trophy, the club’s fans are growing increasingly frustrated. Before last weekend’s dismal 2-0 home defeat against Swansea, supporters protested against Arsenal’s board for their failure to back Wenger in the transfer market and then unleashed a torrent of abuse at the Gunners boss and his players at the final whistle.
In the circumstances, a win over West Brom is vital to lift the gloom and Spanish midfielder Arteta has vowed to do all he can to make the fans happier.
“It’s massive now,” said Arteta. “Winning two or three games in a row will change the atmosphere. We want the fans to stay behind us but the fans need us to be on top of our form. We have to give them something now and they will respond, because they love Arsenal as much as we do. They get upset because they are not watching what they want to watch. We have to respect that.
“We have a really busy period now over Christmas and it can make the difference - you win two or three games in a row and suddenly you are near the top again. That’s what we have to try.”
Chelsea look to make amends
Meanwhile, Chelsea defender David Luiz is certain his teammates will make amends for their embarrassing Champions League exit when they return to domestic action at Sunderland today.
The Blues routed Nordsjaelland 6-1 on Wednesday to secure a first victory under interim manager Rafael Benitez but it was not enough to book a place in the last-16 as Chelsea became the first European champions to bow out at the group stage. It was another dispiriting blow to Chelsea’s morale after a torrid few weeks, which featured Benitez being repeatedly jeered by fans unhappy with his links to rivals Liverpool as the team failed to win any of his first three matches.
“There was embarrassment in the dressing room and also sadness,” said Luiz. “We won the Champions League last season and to get knocked out after the group stage is a great disappointment. Now we have to look to the future and try to win the Europa League. We have a new coach and philosophy and the quicker we get used to it the better for the team.”
Depite Luiz’s confidence, the premature Champions League exit puts even more pressure on Chelsea’s domestic form and Benitez knows he has little margin for error.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2012.
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