Arteta echoes every Arsenal fan in wanting a ‘reset’, as he eyes first win of the season
Arteta’s wish is shared by Arsenal fans worldwide, who would like nothing more than to press the ‘reset’ button on the entire season – after all, the start of the English Premier League (EPL) campaign is the only time these days that the Gunners can find themselves at the top of the table, thanks to the power of the alphabet.
The reality, however, is that Arsenal are now the butt of all jokes in the footballing world, courtesy of a couple of 2-0 defeats – to newly-promoted Brentford and European champions Chelsea – as well as a humiliating 5-0 thrashing by Manchester City.
WATCH: Arteta reacts to Arsenal's heavy defeat against Man City
But dire as the situation might currently be for Arsenal, there is genuine hope that they can finally pick up three points for the first time this season when they take on fellow relegation-battlers Norwich City this Saturday night (SGT).
Like Arsenal, the Canaries have yet to pick up a single point this season, and boast the same goal difference as their North London counterparts. They, however, escaped the ignominy of staying bottom of the table during the international break because they were at least able to score a goal.
The good news for Arsenal is that they will likely be able to call upon nearly their full contingent of players this time round, with the likes of Thomas Partey, Gabriel Magalhaes and Ben White returning from injury and illness.
WATCH: Partey returns to Arsenal training
Arteta’s men will also be boosted by the absence of the Granit Xhaka-Mo Elneny axis of sideway passes. The Swiss is currently serving a suspension after being sent off in Arsenal’s 5-0 defeat to Manchester City, while Elneny is out for three weeks with a hamstring strain that he presumably sustained on international duty while attempting to pass the ball forward for once in his life.
And Arteta has expressed his hope that a now full-strength Arsenal side can finally go on to rack up a few wins on the trot.
“I am really looking forward to having everybody available and trying to start the season the way we want,” said Arteta.
“We don't want to use any excuses but we know how difficult the start was with injuries and a lot of COVID issues we had, and extremely difficult games to play.
“We have to reset now, we need to start and hopefully get everybody back on track, and start to improve our game, which is what we have to do.”
When asked of whether he viewed the game against Norwich as a must-win, Arteta, who really should have replied with a simple “DUH”, simply emphasised the need for his side to get themselves off the board this season, especially in front of their home fans.
“It always (must-win) is at Arsenal. The pressure is always there to be as high as possible in the league table,” said Arteta.
“We need that first win. We're playing in front of our fans after a disappointing start so it is down to us to provide everything that we have performance-wise, to gain a result at the end.”
Arsenal fans hoping to see deadline day signing Takehiro Tomiyasu feature against Norwich, however, might be left disappointed, as the club has yet to finalise a work permit for the 22-year-old.
WATCH: Arteta expects instant Tomiyasu involvement
The defender, who can play as a right-back, as well as in the centre of defence, joined Arsenal from Bologna for close to £20m (S$37m), and is expected to cure the incontinence that the club’s fans suffer from whenever they see Cedric Soares or Calum Chambers in the starting line-up.
And Arteta is hopeful that the Japan international will prove to be Takehiro they need, even though he may not be Takehiro they deserve.
“He has got the capacity to play in any position in the back four,” said Arteta. “He has done it all across the back four and in a back three as well. He gives us versatility; he gives us different qualities in that right-back position.
“He's a player that we've followed for a long time and he brings qualities that we didn't have in the squad.”