Arsenal have been brilliant in pre-season but Mikel Arteta is not getting ahead of himself and believes there is a lot of work to be done ahead of a difficult campaign.
THE LOWDOWN: LOTS OF GOALS
Arsenal struggled to score goals in the latter stages of last season and those struggles ultimately saw them miss out on a Champions League spot. Ahead of the new campaign, Mikel Arteta appears to have ‘fixed’ that problem, with the Gunners scoring at will in pre-season, spearheaded by new signing Gabriel Jesus.
In six pre-season games where Arsenal’s senior team featured, the Gunners won all of them, scoring at least goals in those games bar the 2-0 victory over Everton. Four of those games also saw at least four goals scored, including a 4-0 thumping of rivals Chelsea and a more recent 6-0 rout of Sevilla in the Emirates Cup on Sunday.
Gabriel Jesus caught the eye with his performances, scoring seven pre-season goals in total, inclusive of a hattrick against Sevilla.
Arsenal fans have every reason to be excited ahead of the new season and Mikel Arteta shares the same thoughts but is refusing to get carried away by those performances.
THE LATEST: ARTETA EXPECTS DIFFICULT SEASON AHEAD
Pre-season is a different ball game as we all know and the reality of things coming to light when the league and other competitions kickstart in proper.
Arsenal might have blown away their last opponents in Sevilla, but Arteta expects a different challenge when his side faces Crystal Palace in their season opener on Friday.
“It was a great performance, right from the beginning,” he said after the Sevilla victory. “The way we started, the intensity that we played with, the atmosphere that we created again, with our people, it made a special day. Obviously, the result is big, but it’s just a test match, nothing else.
“We have shared the minutes across the team in the best possible way. We had another game on Wednesday at Colney, and everybody needs to fit, because things can still happen from here until Friday. Everybody needs to be available and at their best to give the right performance.
“We are really excited for the season. We know that Friday night is going to be a very different game, with a different context and atmosphere. We have to prepare really well for that.”
THE VERDICT: TOO EARLY TO BE EXCITED
It makes sense to calm the expectations ahead of the new season and it would be wise to be modest in ambitions. Admittedly, Arsenal look stronger than last season but other sides have improved their squad as well.
Regardless, Arsenal should be able to record a win on Friday but must be wary of ‘bogey team’ Crystal Palace. Ironically, the Gunners failed to record a win over the Eagles in the Premier League last term, losing 3-0 away and playing out to a 2-2 draw at the Emirates.