Press conference

'The reaction has been incredibly positive'

The season got off to a difficult start last Friday, with a 2-0 defeat to newly-promoted Brentford, but Mikel Arteta insists he and his squad are ready to turn things round this weekend.

The manager was without both Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang due to Covid for the season opener, and with Eddie Nketiah also injured, young Folarin Balogun came in for his Premier League debut, in what Arteta described as 'an unprecedented lineup'.

But despite the disruption at the start of the campaign, Arteta said that the morale remains positive at London Colney.

"Put things in to perspective - we had an incredible 48 hours before that [Brentford] match," he said in his Friday morning press conference. "It created a big uncertainty and probably an unprecedented Arsenal line up.

"We tried everything that we had in that game, but it didn't work out. We knew the consequences of that externally, what it was going to mean, but internally the reaction has been incredibly positive. It's one day of Premier League football, we have the whole season ahead of us, and any negativity that's going to try and surround this football club is going to be out of these walls.

"The best way to put things away is to win. Football matches when you win them, it creates a different context and a different environment and energy around the place. Our focus is to get the best possible performance and then the result will be a consequence to that. Our main focus has to be that."

And the boss is delighted he will be joined by a capacity crowd at the Emirates for the first time in 18 months at the weekend.

He is hoping that the lifting of attendance restrictions will turn out to a real boost to the side.

"In moments when there is certain negativity around the place, you need your fans and your supporters more than ever. They've always been with the team and I have no doubt that on Sunday they're going to be right behind the team. If there is one thing that the team needs, it's exactly that.

"If they really want to help the team, there's not going to be a better medicine for them than to feel [the fans] very close with the right energy and supporting them and being behind them and the team is going to try their best."

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