Fans have not been allowed in football stadiums since the end of lock-down in June, and the game without them is lacking something fundamental.
Arsenal supporters have missed out on plenty, not least seeing their team win a record 14th FA Cup in August, as well as a Community Shield win over Liverpool later the same month.
With Mikel Arteta rebuilding the side following his appointment last December, so much has happened, and the Arsenal boss believes what he’s trying to do would be benefitted by the presence of 60,000 Gooners in the stands for our home games, and the vociferous away support we bring with us on the road.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s visit to Old Trafford, the Spaniard said, “When you are trying to build a new project there is something you need, and that is your people and your crowd.
“If not, you are unable to generate that synergy, that cohesion, that unity within them so they feel they belong to what we are trying to do – that they feel united, they feel close.
“It is really difficult and we are now suffering when they are not in the stadium because I really want to see them closely – not on TV but really closely – what the team is trying to do, what the players are putting in so they can feel that connection with them.
“They will then be really participating in what we are trying to do and that is a really powerful thing.
“There are a few examples in this country of how important that is when you are trying to build something.”
Arteta takes his team to play Man Utd in the knowledge that the last time Arsenal won there was 2006, but nevertheless he sounded an optimistic note.
“I want to believe we’re getting closer to getting the win there,” he said.
“For sure our mindset is going to be to go there and win the game. That’s the approach that we’re going to have and the game-plan we’re going to put in place to go there on Sunday.”