Arsenal’s season has gone anything but great so far. The Gunners are set smack in the middle of the table, in 10th place with 31 points to their name; 10 points off where they want to be – the top four. On the other hand, a new coach always needs time to make his work ready for valuation. He needs to assess the squad he has inherited, to give every player a chance to earn his place in the big plan. Once he has made up his mind about who stays and who goes, he needs to find suitable additions to bring in the things lacking at the moment.
Arsenal already made two defensive signings since Mikel Arteta took over, though both Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares are yet to make an appearance due to injury. Signing a quality centre-back and a right-back to provide cover and competition for Hector Bellerin was certainly the main priorities, and it’s encouraging to see the transfers being conducted starting where they should – at the back. Speaking ahead of the visit of Newcastle on Sunday, the boss also revealed that plans for the summer window are well underway.
The winter break is over, and Arteta says it was used well. In Dubai, the team prepared themselves tactically for different opponents, which basically means they worked on getting the formula right against different systems and formations. That’s all to the good, given that the match against the Magpies will actually kick off a period of five games in all competitions in 15 days – Newcastle and Everton in the Premier League, Olympiacos twice in the Europa League, and Portsmouth in the FA Cup.
There’s a smell of well-measured confidence in the air at the moment, coming from both the coach and the players, although, it has to be said that we’ve been here before and seen a few false dawns. Let’s hope it turns out different this time.
The Gunners can be backed at 2/5 to beat Newcastle.