'We've worked hard to give the team every tool'

Having missed out on a proper pre-season last year due to the pandemic, Mikel Arteta is grateful to have had an extended period with his squad this summer.

So what has our manager learned about them - and how ready does he feel they are for the new campaign?

"We started five weeks ago on our preparation, we worked so hard with them to try to get them every tool, every necessary tool, to compete in the best possible way and now it's time to compete," Arteta told Arsenal Media. 

"Probably without them knowing, they have this thin rain on them and without them knowing they are fully prepared. Now it is about competing, doing what you have to do, win duels, be on the front foot and we go [to Brentford] and have one thing in our minds, to do the best we can and win that football match.
"There were a lot of things to put in place," he added. "Things related to our culture, the leadership group that we need around the place. The rules are constantly changing so we know that we have to adapt so we have had moments where our training ground was almost shut and other times where the training ground was completely open. We lost a player, we lost three players, we lost so many members of the staff. 

"We know that in this environment, we're going to have to be adaptable. After being adaptable, we can analyse and we make all the different decisions, and that's I think where we can be stronger this season because we've had time to speak about those things and experience them."

So what lessons has Mikel learned from last season as we prepare to kick off a new campaign on Friday evening?

"Well, the lesson now is that planning a lot of things in this world is sometimes wasting your time because a lot of things have happened that nobody could ever expect and that you have to be ready to act," he said. 

"You have to make decisions quickly, and you have to be ready to adapt, and I think that we have a really strong team. Not only with the players but as well with the staff that we have created with many different backgrounds and qualities and we are ready to go for anything that comes up."

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