MIKEL ARTETA did not hold back when asked to review Arsenal’s underachieving season.
The Gunners sit tenth in the table going into their final Premier League game of the campaign at home to Watford on Sunday and Arteta said “the table doesn’t lie.”
The North Londoners could finish eighth if they better the final day results of Sheffield United and Burnley who sit eighth and ninth respectively.
And they could still win a trophy if they beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final on August 1.
But that is not good enough for ambitious Arteta who replaced sacked Unai Emery in December.
Asked if that would constitute a decent season, Arteta said: “No. For me, this club deserves the best and you have to be fighting for every title.
“Obviously after everything that happened, if we are able to win the final and qualify for Europe, we can say that it’s OK. But it’s not the level for this football club.”
And Arteta was not in the mood for excuses when asked about the size of the job on his hands.
He responded: “I don’t think the league table lies at the end of the 10 months with 38 games.
“Hopefully next season it will be very different. We have a beautiful challenge, a very demanding challenge but a beautiful challenge ahead of us.
“We have to get this right and bring this club back to where it belongs which is with the top teams in the country and in Europe.”
One reporter pressed the 38-year-old on why the Gunners have underachieved this season and rather than duck the question or blame his predecessor, he pulled no punches.
He said: “Because we haven’t been consistent.
“We obviously had a lot of issues as well in the background, a lot of things that had happened.
“But at the end of the day, we weren’t good enough to be with the top teams.
“That’s not a lie and it shows the big room for improvement and the gap that is still there and has to be minimised really, really quickly in order to be in a good position to challenge those teams.”