Mikel Arteta has claimed that the insiders that were once trying to hurt the club's chances of success are no longer at Arsenal as the Gunners have enjoyed an upturn in form since January – around the same time a number of players departed.
There are a number of factors behind the change in fortunes after the festive period, the emergence of Emile Smith Rowe for one, but Arteta feels it is largely in part due to the exits of a number of disruptive figures in the Arsenal dressing room.
The Arsenal manager said: "The best thing has been to keep a team, employees and everybody together, in those circumstances, when you are not winning and when there are so many people, some inside, some outside, that are trying to hurt.
"To keep them together and block that and be so strong, I think that’s some achievement because normally when that happens, that cracks and everything falls, and it didn’t.
"(Our form) shows that we are able to do it and if we get a bit more normal situations I’m very positive about what we can do. We are judged off what we’ve done in the whole season and it’s not for sure where we want to be."
Before the January transfer window, Arteta was forced to face humiliating questions surrounding whether the Gunners considered themselves as part of the relegation battle, given they were just four points off the drop zone on Christmas day.
The winter window was a busy one for the Gunners, in which they terminated the contracts of Mesut Ozil, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos as well as shipping Sead Kolasinac and William Saliba out on loan.
The Arsenal boss stopped short of naming anyone as the guilty party, but when asked whether any individuals he accused of trying to hurt the Gunners were still at the club, he simply said: "No."
Though it may feel unbelievable given the morale around the Arsenal camp in the wake of their Europa League exit at the hands of Villarreal, the Gunners have actually been in fine form since the turn of the year.
Sitting in second in the post-Christmas form table, the Gunners have fallen short this season largely due to their horrific run of form between November and late-December, which saw them fall to home defeats to the likes of Aston Villa,Wolves and Burnley, all three of which will finish below them.
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