Ahead of our Emirates Cup game against Monaco on Wednesday, Mikel Arteta took the time to give his assessment of pre-season and where his squad is at with the start of the Premier League edging ever closer.
Here is a snippet of what he had to say, with the full version available in the Arsenal v Monaco matchday programme, available around the ground on matchday or to purchase online.
It was incredible to see the level of support we had in America during our pre-season tour, and we’re so excited too to be back in front of our people in north London for the Emirates Cup.
Our tour was challenging in terms of visiting three cities with lots of travelling, and we had some very competitive and tough matches, but it was a really valuable time for us, a very well planned tour, and very worthwhile for us in the work that we did. It was great for the players to witness the belief and energy that is around the team. The way our supporters around the world follow the team is just phenomenal.
That has been great, and we needed this after a really demanding season last year. There are players in the squad who played seven different competitions in a calendar year, which is unheard of. So we have adapted the pre-season, the timeframes and workload that some players had to get in the best possible condition.
We are now in a period where we play the Emirates Cup and the Community Shield, a period where we need to get some freshness in the legs. We have to find that balance in the next few days before the new Premier League season starts.
We have got some fresh faces in the squad this year, and I am so pleased that we were able to bring these signings in early in the transfer window so we’ve been able to work with them.
The feedback we’ve had from the new players is that they feel like they’ve been here for years already. That tells you a lot about the culture here, and how welcoming and easy everybody around the place is, to make you feel part of it and part of the Arsenal family straight away.
Obviously for some of them it has been a big change – in the model they’re used to, in the demands and expectations, and we have to acknowledge that and treat them in the right way.
So let’s make sure we give those players some time as well, and to make sure that they have the needed space in which to express themselves, and then get to the level that we want from them. That is always important in helping new players integrate.
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