There are only five days to go until Arsenal return to action up at the Etihad and there is excitement building, although it is going to be a completely different atmosphere compared to the games before the pandemic hit the world.
It is going to be a big day for Mikel Arteta as well, as he is returning to face his old mentor at Man City, Pep Guardiola, for the first time since accepting the Gunners contract.
Arteta told the Sky Football Show (as quoted in the Metro): “It is going to be strange, I can’t deny that, I know everyone there, I spent four magnificent years with those players.
“I am really excited as well, I can’t wait to start competing again in the way we love the most and that is to play football.
“It is going to be very special for me but I am looking forward.”
Special or not, Arteta will be keen to continue our unbeaten run that we clocked up before the shutdown, and it certainly won’t be easy at the home of the reigning Champions, but our new boss is hoping that the Gunners are even better now than they were before the lockdown. He added: ‘The ambition in this period, as I’ve said before, is to be a better team than we were before. In that moment we were on a really good run before we stopped for the coronavirus.
‘I want to go day-by-day with this team and game after game be competitive in every game and go to any stadium and try to win. This has to be us. That’s the way I feel and the way I believe is the best way to approach every game.’
One thing that may help is the absence of passionate Man City fans at the Etihad, and it has been proven that home advantage is much less pronounced without the Twelfth Man and should improve Arsenal’s chances of getting something from the visit to Manchester. Arteta said in the Express: “I hope it is and we’ve seen we have got a good thing to measure what is happening with the Bundesliga at the moment.
“So it is going to help. Football is passion and energy, and when you lose that things balance much more, in my opinion.
“But I know how strong they (Manchester City) are, I know what they are able to do if they are all switched on on the day.
“So we have to be really well prepared to try and go there and win the game.”
So the stage has been set, the build-up has begun, and now we begin the nerve-wracking wait to see how the Gunners continue our campaign. Could Arteta still end this season with Glory?