'I can see a lot of light' - Arsenal's poor start to season could end up being 'really good for the club', insists Arteta

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Arsenal’s poor start to the season could end up being “really good for the club”, according to Mikel Arteta, who insists he “can see a lot of light” at the end of the tunnel at Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners sat rock bottom of the Premier League table after the first three fixtures of the 2021-22 campaign, having followed up a 2-0 opening day reversal at newly-promoted Brentford with a 2-0 home defeat to Chelsea and a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City.

Questions have been asked over Arteta’s position at the club as a result, but a morale-boosting 6-0 drubbing of West Brom in the second round of the EFL Cup eased some of the pressure on the Spaniard, who then saw his side pick up their first top-flight victory against Norwich last weekend.

What’s been said?

Arsenal still have a lot to prove before they can be considered a formidable force again, but Arteta is confident that the long-term project he was brought in to oversee will soon begin to take shape.

“I can really see the light,” the Gunners boss told a press conference on Thursday. “I’m telling you I’m very positive most of the time. I’ve seen the light and I can see bright lights.

“There can be bumps in the road within that light, but I can see a lot of light.”

Arteta added on how he dealt with the criticism that came his way after the loss at City: “Life brings you things and you cannot decide it. There are certain things that you cannot control. What is coming to you is coming for a reason. Sometimes we don’t want to see it, but it’s coming for a reason – and it’s probably for the right reason.

“Then it’s about how you take it and how you respond to that. The way that everyone around me responded is the way that I responded. That’s why it’s been fine.

“It’s tough because it hurts, because you want to see something different. But what you want is not always what happens. Things happen for a reason and maybe what is happening had to happen and [maybe] it’s going to be really good for the club and really good for myself and everybody experiencing that situation.

“We have to believe that.”

What’s next?

Arteta was speaking ahead of his side’s trip to Burnley on Saturday, where another win could see them rise into the top half of the Premier League standings.

Arsenal will then prepare for a third-round EFL Cup tie against AFC Wimbledon on September 22, which comes four days before the first north London derby of the season against Tottenham.

The Gunners only have domestic fixtures on their calendar after missing out on European qualification in 2020-21, and Arteta has admitted that it was painful to see their English rivals compete in the Champions League this week.

“That hurt a lot. It was painful to put on the TV and see those teams and Arsenal not being there,” he said. “One hundred per cent that will be our motivation to get back into those competitions. We have the focus and the trigger is there.”

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