• Champions League

Arteta: Arsenal's level 'not acceptable'

ESPN staff
March 12, 2013

Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has described his side's season so far as "not acceptable" and conceded the Gunners' chance of making it through to the Champions League quarter-finals are slim ahead of their return match with Bayern Munich.

Arsene Wenger's men are looking to turn around a 3-1 first-leg deficit when they travel to the Allianz Arena on Wednesday night, with Arteta admitting his side need to up their game to have any chance against a rampant Bayern.

"They (Bayern) were very good in the first leg and it will be even harder away from home as for me, they are the best team we have played this season," Arteta told the Daily Mirror.

"They are very strong physically, some very talented players who can unlock the door at any moment and they are really solid and organised. They are tough. They are the most consistent team in Europe."

Arteta went on to urge the Arsenal board to strengthen the squad next summer, as he accepts qualification for the next edition of the Champions League could be crucial to the club's future.

"The Champions League is massive," he said. "If we don't get in those [top four] spots, then it makes everything much more difficult. To any team with top players, you have to ask what's going to happen in this answer and there's only one answer: we want to improve the team.

"To see the club and the supporters, they've been through a difficult period over the last seven or eight years because it's a very competitive club and everyone wants to see the club at the top.

"The line between being good and bad is really thin. It's not easy for anyone, not the manager, the players or the staff. We have a very good team but we are missing that little thing which makes a difference.

"That's where we need to find the key, but with 10 games to go, it's an impossible catch (the title chasers) and that, for me, is not acceptable. I think everybody knows that. I think the board knows that and hopefully this summer we'll do something about it."

Meanwhile, the vibes emanating from Germany are ominous for Arsenal, with confident Bayern Munich skipper Philipp Lahm and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer admitting they were surprised by the chasm in class between the Bundesliga leaders and Arsenal in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

"The difference between the clubs was enormous," Lahm is quoted as saying in the Daily Mirror. "Arsenal were not brilliant because they never had chances. Bayern was the owner of the game and the first goal changed the situation.

"Now Arsenal will have to show a strong reaction and, even though we are very confident, we know they will try to show some pride and play well, but if we don't obtain qualification it will be a disaster. That would be the biggest failure of the season."

Neuer suggested his side were in a different league to Arsenal in the first leg and he suggests complacency could be their most potent opponent on Wednesday night.

"We were superior from the first minute in the first leg, but we must ignore the scoreline and play as if we are starting again," stated Neuer. "We must show a good spirit and ensure we do not go easy."

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