'I said from day one, it won't be a clean ride'

We've come a long way since our opening-day defeat to Brentford - but at the time, the result prompted an immediate backlash within the game.

As we prepare to face the Bees again, we're now in sixth place, just four points off the top four with three games in hand.

So how does Mikel Arteta reflect on it all now?

"We knew the difficulties that we were going to have on the opening game in the league, which is always difficult but with the amount of players out that we had, with the team that we played on the day and with a newly-promoted team who had done exceptionally well, I wasn’t shocked because I knew it was going to be very difficult," he said.

"That has been proven because Brentford have made life really, really difficult for any team that has been playing there regardless of the level of that team. We haven’t been the only ones that has suffered against them, that’s for sure.

"It’s part of football, part of the job to lose football matches, it’s part of this, unfortunately. There’s a lot of things that you learn in terms of the preparation, the team that you selected, analysing what happened and how it happened, not analysing it in a different context, exactly what happened with the players that you had on the day and don’t lose focus on the direction because it’s really easy to start to shift one side and the other and keep what you’re doing in your beliefs and keep going and be very stubborn on that.

"It’s sticking to what we planned and understanding the difficulties along the way. I said on day one, I think the club was very clear, this is not going to be a clean ride, it doesn’t happen. When you go from A to B or C, or the level that the Premier League has, it’s not going to be a straight line up there, it’s never going to happen.

“It’s going to be a line that comes down and then hopefully we will get there and you have to be prepared for that, because if not, you will change your direction and then you will be in big trouble."

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