Mikel Arteta believes that Arsenal should have no problem coping without Alex Song and claims the organisation shown on Saturday by the Gunners new look midfield bodes well for the future.
Assuming the responsibility for sweeping up danger in front of the defence, the Spaniard expertly marshalled the centre of the park against Sunderland providing a solid platform for Abou Diaby and Santi Cazorla to probe further up the field.
With Nuri Sahin tipped to sign on loan and the likes of Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere due back from injury, Arteta told Arsenal.com that he was very positive about the future.
“I felt really comfortable when I played with Alex last year, he was a terrific player,” reflected the 30-year-old after Song’s departure was confirmed.
“But if he and the Club decided that the best option was for him to leave we have to accept it. I think we are good enough to carry on without him.
“We looked really organised on Saturday, just maybe in the final third we didn’t take the chances we should have done.”
Accepting that the new faces at London Colney will need time to settle, as he himself did last year, the ex-Everton man continued:
“It will take a while because there have been some new players coming in and we are building a new team. We have lost some important players too so we will need some time. But we wanted to start with a win and that is why we are disappointed.
“We know that our new players can make the difference as well. We will have to give them a chance to settle into a new place.”
Having been tipped by Arsene Wenger to come good, despite a muted debut, one of those new boys, Lukas Podolski, has also been given a hearty pat on the back by close friend Per Mertesacker.
“It was tough for him [on Saturday] because it was his first game up front,” said Mertesacker to Arsenal Player of his compatriot.
“I think he will get used to the game, switch on quickly and score a lot for us.
“You have seen that he has a good technique and he is good in possession. We have the players who can pass him the ball. He is a good finisher too and we will see that in a couple of weeks.
“We saw a lot of misunderstandings [against Sunderland], especially in the first half. One guy maybe wanted the one-two, the other in behind. So we need a bit of time, especially with the new players. We had a few new players who were playing their first game over 90 minutes. But I think it is coming.”