Arteta urges Arsenal to embrace the challenge

23 August 2021 19:04:41 GMTPlus11
Arteta determined to turn Arsenal's fortunes around.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta feels the club are in a "difficult and unprecedented situation" but says his team must stand up to the challenge after their 2-0 defeat to Chelsea.

The Gunners, who are 10/1 to finish in the bottom half, dropped to 19th in the Premier League table after losing on home soil on Sunday.

Chelsea only needed 15 minutes to open the scoring, with Romelu Lukaku scoring his first-ever Chelsea goal, almost a decade since he made his debut.

Lukaku tapped in Reece James' cross before the right-back, then scored himself.

The England international smashed the ball past Bernd Leno in the Arsenal goal after collecting Mason Mount's pass, and Arsenal had no answer for Thomas Tuchel's side.

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Arteta's side have now lost more London derbies in the Premier League this season than last, with the Gunners coming unstuck against Brentford last weekend.

It is also only the third time the Gunners have lost their opening two Premier League matches in a season, and the pressure is on Arteta after the club backed him in the transfer window.

Ben White, Martin Odegaard, Aaron Ramsdale, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Nuno Tavares have all joined the club, but only Lokonga and Tavares were fit and able to feature on Sunday.

Boss up for the challenge

Arteta says the squad need to stick together and fight, but the fixture list does not ease up, with Manchester City up next in the Premier League.

He told BBC Sport: "I don't think the club in their history have faced something like this.

"We have to face the challenge. The league or table is not decided in August. The worst thing you can do is throw in the towel. We certainly are not going to do that.

"You have to understand the situation we have. We are missing nine players, and it is difficult. It is not just nine players - they are some big, big players."

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