In the coming days, Arsenal’s first team squad will return to London Colney as the short countdown to the 2020/21 season begins in earnest.
Usually, the players would have a couple of months to prepare for their first league game but with the game’s governing bodies desperate to make up the time lost due to Covid-19, some of the squad will be thrown straight into action against Liverpool in the Community Shield in 10 days time.
All going to plan, we should be able to squeeze in a couple more friendlies before getting to work in the Premier League on 12 September.
Having secured European football by winning a high-pressure FA Cup final against Chelsea less than three weeks ago, Mikel Arteta admits he’ll be looking out for any signs of complacency.
If there isn’t and he sees a real desire to knuckle down and continue building on the foundations laid over the last eight months, he’s positive that the club can go from strength to strength.
For now, he’s not quite sure how far they might progress in the coming year.
“It’s an impossible question,” Arteta told Arsenal Digital. “I don’t even know where we are going to be on day one of pre-season. I have to look at the players, how they come from holidays, how they come after winning, I want to see that reaction.
“You know, are they going to be a little more relaxed because we’ve done something or are they going to come with ‘Okay, this is nothing that we’ve done. We have to go to the next level, we have to apply ourselves better, we have to improve in a lot of areas and we have to dominate many other aspects of the game that at the moment we cannot control’.
“If that is the mindset, then I am very positive that we will be sitting here in a year’s time really happy. But I hope we take that road straight away.
“I am very positive about where we are,” Arteta added. “I don’t know if we are ahead of schedule, obviously if you had told me that we were going to win the cup before we joined then I probably would be happy with that.
“What I am very positive and very passionate and encouraged about is what we can do in the future and if we make the right decisions I am super confident that we can bring the club back to the top.”