Arteta: Arsenal need fighters, not victims, to reverse form freefall

Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal and Ainsley Maitland-Niles of Arsenal look dejected following their team's defeat in the Premier League match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park on December 19, 2020 in Liverpool, England.

Mikel Arteta has called on his players to be "fighters" rather than "victims" as Arsenal aim to reverse their freefall in Tuesday's EFL Cup quarter-final against Man City.

The Gunners will definitely be without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for City's visit, with the forward set for a second scan on a calf problem.

The return of the EFL Cup comes as a welcome respite for Arteta's Arsenal, who are without a win in seven League games after slipping to their eighth defeat of the season against Everton on Saturday.

The dismal run has left the manager under pressure, with Arsenal now just four points above the bottom three, and the Spaniard called for a reaction from everyone at the club.

"I like to look around me, whether it is staff, coach, players and I want to see fighters," Arteta said this morning.

"Normally when that happens you have two types of people: fighters and victims. You just need fighters, you don’t want any victims. Victims just bring excuses, negativity and they start to blame everything that is happening around them or that is not going for them. You just need people who fight, people who contribute, people who are ready to give everything to the cause in these moments."

Arsenal's form has prompted speculation about Arteta's future amid reports of a deteriorating atmosphere at the club and splits in the dressing room.

“I do pay attention and I have to be aware and I am aware of what is happening but I don’t read [media reports]," he said.

"If I start to read all the comments, whether they are positive or negative, it would drive me mad. My suggestion to every player is exactly the same, all the time it happens with social media as well. You can’t control who is writing, what their intentions are. So it is I think a very dangerous thing to do.

"The atmosphere at the club is as good as it can be when we are all hurting. Everybody is worried and everybody is suffering at the moment because we want much more. The unity is there. Is there 100 per cent unity around the club? It is impossible in any club even when you win because players who aren’t participating are always more difficult."

Aubameyang missed the 2-1 defeat to Everton through injury and, in more troubling news for the club, the captain will undergo a second scan this week to determine the extent of a calf issue.

Arteta said: "Auba is not fit for tomorrow, that's for sure. [He] is feeling much better. He was more positive yesterday than in the previous two days. He will have another scan in the next few days and we will see how quickly we can get him back in the team. He knows how important he is for us, he feels the responsibility and he is trying his best to be fit as quick as possible."

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