This pre-season seems very strange compared to previous years but in a good way. Arsenal have (very unusually) got lots of our important signings done very early in the transfer window, giving the new arrivals plenty of time to integrate into the squad and to get used to their new team-mates and learn Arteta’s tactical setups.
Another difference is that we have won every game, and always seem extremely confident, whichever team Arteta puts out (excepting the kids in first half at Nurnberg lol), but we have looked fitter with every game and everyone seems to know their roles on the pitch.
Unlike last year, it looks like the early League fixtures have been kind to us, but we know our opening game against Palace was always going to be a tough test. Granit Xhaka, who is going to start his seventh season with the Gunners, is also feeling confident with how the new arrivals have made us into a tougher unit to crack. “The signings that we did give us something more than winning,” Xhaka told Arsenal.com. “they give us the mentality of how to win and the quality, of course.
“It’s like a puzzle, you need the quality, of course, but if it doesn’t fit in with the team, it’s very difficult to achieve something.
“The signings all fit very well in the team, year by year we get much better and it’s easier to speak than to do it, for sure, but I have a very good feeling that we will be ready for the start against Crystal Palace away and let’s see and hope that we can achieve the goals that we have.”
If Xhaka is feeling confident for this season as well, it is worth listening to as he has been with for so many pre-seasons already, but what exactly are the targets are we setting ourselves. Xhaka has already said that he would personally want us to win the Europa League, but this is what Arteta said when asked yesterday: “Our target at this club is to win competitions, it can’t be any other than that and the way we are building the squad is to achieve that. Today, we are still in pre-season, the window is not closed, the squad is not closed and we will set our target internally, but they won’t be at the end of the season, it will be much shorter because that’s still to far and a lot of things could happen.”
Our first and only target in my eyes, is to do our very best to win well at Crystal Palace. We have to send a message to the rest of the League that we intend to be a serious contender this season. Then we can take it from there….
What do you think this new Arsenal squad can achieve this season?
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Watch highlights from Arsenal’s open training session on our preseason tour of the USA
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