Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says the next week is going to be crucial in ensuring his side is not dragged into an unexpected relegation battle.
The Gunners have managed one victory in their past 10 Premier League games, a run which has seen them slide down the Premier League table to 15th position.
“I don’t make any excuses,” said Arteta, who succeeded the sacked Unai Emery in December 2019.
The 38-year-old Spaniard retains the backing of the Arsenal hierarchy.
The Gunners host Chelsea on Saturday and then face trips to two of the sides below them – Brighton, whose only home win in 2020 came against Arsenal last season, and West Brom.
Asked whether the next week is important if his side are to avoid becoming serious relegation candidates, Arteta said: “Yes, absolutely. The next seven to eight days are going to be crucial to see where we’re going to be heading to in the Premier League.”
After ending last season by winning the FA Cup, then beginning this one by lifting the Community Shield, winning three of the opening four league games and beating Leicester and Liverpool away from home in the Carabao Cup, Arsenal’s campaign has nosedived.
West Brom boss Sam Allardyce said on Wednesday he regarded the Gunners as a rival at the bottom of the table.
Arteta said: “I have been very clear in many moments that we are losing football matches. It is my responsibility to put that right and, regardless of what happens, it’s been us that have let ourselves down and it’s down to us to change that.”
Saturday’s opponents Chelsea responded to losing last season’s FA Cup final to Arsenal by spending £200m on new players.
In addition, Frank Lampard’s side won at Emirates Stadium in 2019-20 and have lost only twice in their past nine Premier League visits.
“In this moment, you’re probably talking about the strongest squad in the Premier League and a team that is going to be fighting for the top spot for sure,” said Arteta.
“What they did seems to be working fine and at the moment we are not there.”