Mikel Arteta has admitted that Arsenal’s tough of run of fixtures will be crucial in how their season plays out, ahead of their clash with Manchester City on Sunday.
The Gunners are looking to end the final third of the season on a high, following a deeply disappointing campaign thus far which has seen them crash out of the FA Cup and spend the majority of the season in the bottom half of the Premier League table.
Arsenal had looked to have turned a corner at the end of the festive period, although two defeats in their last three league games has somewhat stunted their progress and left them nine points off a top four spot.
In truth, the major issue for Arteta’s men this season has been consistency, with their most recent league encounter seeing them put four past Leeds United, illustrating what they can do when they are at full tilt.
In midweek the North London club grabbed a crucial away goal in their 1-1 draw with Benfica in the Europa League, leaving the match finely poised for the second leg on Thursday.
With Manchester City to come on Sunday, followed by that second leg tie in midweek, they then have a potentially tough run of fixtures, with games against Leicester City, Tottenham, West Ham and Liverpool in the league in the coming weeks.
According to Arteta, that spell of fixtures could well define their season and offer a chance to really ‘kick on’ in what’s been a really stuttering campaign thus far.
“That’s when we will define our season, if we are able to close the gaps in those games with them,” he said at his pre-match press conference.
“It’s going to create some momentum for us and we’re going to get closer to them. We know that the margins for error are minimal with the season that we’ve had in previous months, so we need to kick on.
“We want to be us. It doesn’t matter who we play. I want to see a team that plays with the character and personality that we have shown in recent months. I want us to keep continue maintaining that line.
“If we do that, we will cause problems to any team. But we need to do that from the beginning. We obviously want to show other teams respect but still be true to ourselves.”