The Gunners manager is now facing competitions on two fronts as he looks to secure European football next season
Mikel Arteta says that Arsenal have little room for error going forward as the Gunners head into a “crucial” point in their season.
The Spanish manager has set his sights on securing European football for next season, with Arsenal currently sitting 11th in the Premier League.
Additionally, the Gunners are getting set to kick off the Europa League knockout stages next week when they take on Benfica.
What did Arteta have to say?
“Yes, 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,” said the Arsenal boss.
“So, the moment you don’t do what you have to, you are out.
“The level of attention and the level of performances are going to be really high and demanding – and we have to face the challenge and go through them.”
He added: “First of all, we have to improve our position in the league – dramatically.
“In order to do that we have to win a lot of football matches. 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 – and into a situation where we can compete for those places – because that’s going to decide which competition we are in next season.
“Things could change really quickly. If you’d asked me this question after we’d won the last two games, I’d say we had options in both of them.
“It will now depend on how consistent we are week in, week out.”
What’s next for Arsenal?
Heading into this weekend’s clash with Leeds, the Gunners are in 11th place, nine points off the top four and 22 points behind league-leaders Manchester City.
As things stand, Arteta and co. are one point behind this weekend’s opponents, with Leeds also having played one fewer match.
On the European front, the Gunners qualified for the knockout rounds of the Europa League after emerging from a group that included Molde, Rapid Wien and Dundalk, with the Premier League side winning all six matches of their group stage.
Next up, though, will be Benfica, who finished second in their group with 12 points, two behind group winners Rangers.
Arsenal are winless in their last three matches, having collected only one win from their last five matches in all competitions.