Mikel Arteta has explained why Arsenal have planned a warm-weather training camp in Dubai despite concerns about tensions in the Middle East and the spread of the Coronavirus.
The Gunners will arrive in the Emirate on 7 February for four days of training before they return to London to tackle the final third of the season.
The boss is looking forward to giving his players a breather after a hectic month and also sees the trip as a chance to indulge in a bit of team bonding.
Asked about the reasons for the trip, Arteta explained: “There are two aspects. One is that since November they haven’t had two days off, so they need to relax their minds a little bit.
“I wanted to take them a little bit away from here and I want us to live together a little bit more. In the last few weeks we also haven’t had time to really prepare or train.”
All going well, the inaugural Premier League winter break should give us a chance to embed new boys Cedric Soares and Pablo Mari and for our injured players to work their way back to fitness.
After that we’ve got a season to rescue. On his hopes for the rest of the campaign, Arteta added: “A lot of the things that we’ve been doing in recent weeks, I’m starting to see some signs of it.
“The process and how long it takes for us to get where I want, it will dictate and results will bring more confidence and energy. But we are on the right path.
“The next two weeks after Dubai are going to help us as well to accelerate that process a little bit more.
“Hopefully we don’t lose any more players as well because injury-wise it’s been tricky. I’m happy where I am.”