Mikel Arteta has conceded Arsenal will be “in big trouble” if they fail to transform their fortunes through a season-defining festive schedule.
The Gunners crashed out of the Carabao Cup 4-1 to Manchester City on Tuesday as Arteta’s side slipped to a sixth defeat in 11 in all competitions.
London rivals Chelsea are the visitors to the Emirates Stadium on Boxing Day before the Gunners see in the New Year with trips to Brighton and West Brom, and Arteta admits it is a make-or-break run of games.
“We have to turn it around, there is no question,” Arteta said. “If we don’t, we are in big trouble, so this is the moment that is going to decide our season.
“We do [have the tools to turn things around] because I see how much the players try and what they are trying to do, but at the moment a lot of strange things are happening in every game and that makes things really difficult.”
It’s been just over a year since Arteta left the Manchester City coaching set-up to take the reins at the Emirates but defeat to his former employers has only heightened the mounting pressure on his position.
Speaking after the game, however, City boss Guardiola issued a public backing of Arteta, insisting Arsenal would be making a “big mistake” if they decide to sack his former assistant.
“They will do a huge, big mistake,” Guardiola told BBC. “I’m pretty sure they are going to trust him. I understand for the analysts, analyse the results.
“But I was with him many years and I know his incredible quality as a human being and especially as a manager, how he is involved in everything. It’s just a question of time and he will do well.
“I’m not on the board. For me they will do a big mistake if they are thinking. They give him the confidence, they won two titles when for a long time ago it didn’t happen at this club.
“In this pandemic situation, with injury problems they have and the games they played always they played good. But unfortunately these games is our job and it depends on the results. But football changes in one week so quick.
“I can speak about my experience alongside him, one of the most incredible successful teams in English history we had and he was part of this success and it would not be possible without him, and to create something like this you need
time like I had in my first season.”