Arsenal have started the season with two defeats and no goals for the first time in 118 years – while Sunday’s defeat to Chelsea means Arteta has an unwanted stat on his record
Mikel Arteta has eclipsed an Arsene Wenger record for the wrong reasons following Arsenal’s defeat to Chelsea on Sunday.
The Gunners were booed off at the Emirates after goals from Romelu Lukaku and Reece James inflicted a second straight loss for Arteta’s side.
It meant that for first time in their 118 seasons in England’s top four divisions, Arsenal have opened a league campaign with two reverses and no goals from their first two matches.
The Chelsea defeat was Arteta’s ninth in the Premier League at the Emirates since he took charge of the Gunners in December 2019.
And that means he has presided over more home league losses during his 20 months in the hotseat than Wenger did during a six-year spell between 2002 and 2008.
Wenger’s Arsenal suffered two Premier League defeats at Highbury during the 2002/03 campaign, before going the entire season unbeaten to secure their ‘Invincibles’ title triumph of 2003/04.
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They lost one home league game during 2004/5, two during 2005/06, one during the first campaign at the Emirates in 2006/07, and none the following season – meaning Wenger saw his team beaten just six times at home in the Premier League in six seasons.
The following campaign, the Gunners lost another three league games at the Emirates, giving Wenger a record of nine in seven seasons – the same number as in Arteta’s significantly shorter time in charge so far.
Of course, it has to be said that Arteta does not have the same calibre of players at his disposal than some of the stars of Wenger’s era.
But the Spaniard is nevertheless facing scrutiny after Sunday’s defeat to Chelsea followed a 2-0 loss at Brentford on the opening day of the season.
And he has insisted he and his players are ready to roll their sleeves up as they face a Carabao Cup clash at West Brom on Wednesday followed by a daunting trip to take on champions Manchester City at the Etihad this Saturday.
“We have to face the challenge,” he said. “It is about fighting against those moments. The League, the season, the table is not decided in August at all.
There is a lot to happen. The worst thing you can do is throw in the towel. It doesn’t go with me, it doesn’t go with the history of this club and certainly we are not going to do that.”
Arteta is expected to again be without £50million summer signing Ben White against City after he became the latest Arsenal player to test positive for Covid.
Alexandre Lacazette, Alex Runarsson, Willian and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang all contracted the virus, with the latter having returned to action with half an hour from the bench against Chelsea.
Asked how he would prepare his squad for Saturday’s clash with City, Arteta said: “Try to give them confidence and belief that football changes really quickly.
“I don’t want to see anybody feeling sorry for themselves or for the squad or for the team, because that’s not going to help us.”