Mikel Arteta is sounding a cautionary note to rival Premier League clubs as his team prepares for a busy festive fixtures starting on Saturday against Wolves. Despite the dominant 6-0 victory over Lens in the Champions League, Arteta remains mindful of the challenges posed by opponents, especially those who employ a defensively oriented approach to thwart Arsenal’s attacking prowess.
Arteta highlighted the necessity of equipping his squad with the tools and strategies required to navigate through such tactical obstacles.
“Giving players tools, ideas, and understanding about what we have to do with the game we have to play,” he expressed in a pre-game press conference, with emphasis on the importance of efficiency in the final third.
Ahead of our encounter with Wolves, Arteta acknowledged the quality and unpredictability of their opponents, praising their ability to perform well against top sides.
Anticipating a tough challenge, Arteta said, “They have a lot of quality. It’s not a coincidence, what they are doing. They perform really well, especially against the top sides.
“That speaks highly about the quality of the coaching staff – what Gary [O’Neill] is doing, the way they prepare and control opponents, especially when they play at home. We’re going to have to try to break them down tomorrow.”
Addressing concerns about the midfield’s adjustment following Granit Xhaka’s departure and injuries to key players like Thomas Partey and Martin Odegaard, Arteta expressed confidence in the team’s adaptability. He emphasised the importance of time and playing minutes together for the chemistry to develop among the new midfield combinations.
“I think time will help and the more minutes that they [Havertz, Rice & Odegaard] play together the chemistry will get better and better as well, but we have many options with different qualities.
“We played as well with two players, not as offensive [Jorginho and Rice] as the three that we are talking about right now, and it depends as well on the opponent, game state and what we are trying to do.”
With a packed schedule ahead comprising eight matches before the year’s end, Arteta conveyed his squad’s readiness and eagerness to compete regularly. Expressing enthusiasm about the team’s hunger for game time, even amidst the challenges of managing players’ fitness, he portrayed a positive outlook.
“That’s the beauty of it. We wanted to be in that position. We are playing in big games every three days and the squad is ready,” he reflected.
“The players are hungry to play every single game. They are disappointed when we have to rest them to manage minutes. That’s a really good sign.”
A win for Arsenal against Wolves will open a four-point lead at the top of the table with Liverpool and Manchester City not playing until Sunday.