– Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said he feels privileged to reach the milestone of managing 100 games when they take on Watford in the Premier League on Sunday but added there is still a lot of work to do at the north London club.
Arteta replaced fellow Spaniard Unai Emery in December 2019 and immediately revived the club’s fortunes, winning the FA Cup that season.
Yet he also suffered a big blow last season when Arsenal failed to qualify for any European competition for the first time in 25 years after an eighth-placed finish.
“An incredible and quick journey. A lot has happened, not only at the football club but around the world, that obviously has a huge impact in everything we did in the last two years,” Arteta told reporters on Friday.
“So privileged to be where I am. I’m really enjoying the opportunity and the challenge we have ahead.
“It’s all about picking up momentum and settling those foundations that we want to get performances and results, but also to build the sense of unity that is around our club… For me that’s important.”
After a horrendous start to the 2021-22 season where the club lost three games in a row to sit the bottom of the standings, Arsenal have stitched together an unbeaten run to climb back up to sixth after 10 games.
New goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale has shone as their form improved, cementing his number one spot and earning an England call-up while 21-year-old midfielder Emile Smith Rowe — who has three league goals and two assists — missed out.
“Gareth has to make so many difficult choices, so many options. What I like is our players are performing at a level where they are giving problems to Gareth and the coaching staff and that pleases me,” Arteta said.
“I know they have the level to do it and there will be a time for the manager to select them.
“I think (Smith-Rowe) should be happy if people are gutted or if they’re questioning the decision because it shows the level he’s playing at.”