The Gunners are facing up to an eighth year without a trophy, with an agonising UEFA Champions League exit at the hands of Bayern Munich in midweek putting the final nail in their 2012/13 coffin.
They are still in the hunt for a top-four finish in the Premier League, but that is now the only target they have to aim at.
Arteta admits that the club's struggles have been of their own making at times, with the Spanish midfielder of the opinion that Arsenal need to master the art of grinding out results.
He said: "When you concede three at home against Bayern you can't expect something different. And the way we conceded against Spurs when we were dominating the game.
"I am convinced we can compete. The frustrating thing is when we lose games when the opposition does very little to win.
"If they play better than you, like Bayern did in the first 30 minutes of the first leg, you can put your hand up and say 'terrific team'.
"But some of the games we've lost this season, that wasn't the case and that is what we have to cut out. If not, it will be very difficult to get what we want."
What the Gunners want, and need, is to force their way into the top four and return to European football's top table next season - with a five-point gap needing to be bridged in their remaining 10 fixtures.
Arteta admits as much, saying: "You never know in football - we have to focus on us.
"At the moment it doesn't depend on us and the only thing we can do is win every game. We can't win any trophies this year, that's finished. The minimum target we can ask for is to qualify for the Champions League.
"It is massive, not only for us but for the fans. For this football club, we cannot afford to be out of the Champions League. That is in our mind, that is the target."