Following the dismissal of Unai Emery at the end of November, Mikel Arteta was appointed Arsenal manager and arrived at the Emirates Stadium to much fanfare.
It’s been a modest start for the former Gunners captain who’s won just three of his first nine matches in charge.
There have been signs of improvement but five draws point to a team still coming to terms with the new manager’s instructions and philosophy.
That’s why the ongoing Premier League winter break has been the perfect time for Arteta to work closely with the squad on some key aspects.
“The main thing was to work, to come here and make sure that a lot of things that I want implemented are happening on the football pitch,” Arteta said at Arsenal’s training camp at the Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex in Dubai, UAE.
“There a lot of things culturally that I want to change and implement as well while we are living together.
“And then obviously [it’s nice] to get away from London a little bit, get into this weather, these facilities, and change the environment mentally for them as well to be ready for the end of the season.”
Arteta is eager to help Arsenal alter their playing style and step up their organisation by developing an identity for the side.
"I have made a big review of what we have done so far in these five or six weeks, the things where we can improve, the areas where we have improved and that we have to maintain, that we cannot lose. Hopefully we can make another step forward as a team now."— AFTV (@AFTVMedia) February 10, 2020
- Mikel Arteta pic.twitter.com/IjmK4gaxx8
“It’s our principles [that need changing], our style of play, how we manage the games, how we manage each section of the pitch and clarity – that the players have clarity when they jump into that football pitch that they know and they can recognise the scenarios they are facing and they have the tools to resolve those things.”
The former Manchester City assistant manager has been pleasantly surprised by how the players have responded to his instruction.
“The biggest surprise and the nicest surprise is the input the players are putting in, how much they’re buying into what we’re trying to do, the effort they’re putting in, the willingness. And they seem ready with the right commitment and the right energy to move forward.
“They want to improve, they want to play and they put in a great effort. I try to help them as much as possible but it’s their qualities.”
Qualifying for the Champions League remains a key objective for Arsenal and while Arteta admits they’re far from achieving that, the inconsistency of teams around them is a source of encouragement.
“I want to go game by game. At the moment we are far from it, but there are still a lot of games to play.
“It’s very tight, a lot of teams are giving points away. It’s going to depend on us. If we’re able to put three or four wins together in a row we will be much closer.”
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