KEY POINTS

  • Arteta hopes to see better play from Gunners
  • Arteta already mapping out transfer plans this summer
  • Arteta effectivity may be measured after the summer

Arsenal FC returns to action this Sunday when they face Newcastle United. The Gunners are coming off a mini-preseason in Dubai, something Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta hopes can aid them in coping up with a strenuous schedule ahead.

Thought Arsenal could benefit from the mid-season break, it remains that Arteta will be up for now easy task ahead. After their game on Sunday, the Gunners have to deal with games encompassing the Premier League, Europa League and the FA Cup from now until March, AFP reported.

"We came here to work, it was like a mini pre-season," said the former Arsenal midfielder. "I wanted to use it to work on our principles and our styles of play, and as well as how we live together."

Things have not been that easy for the former Gunners striker. Since taking over from Unai Emery back in December, the Spanish boss has only three victories to show. Arsenal has settled for draws in their last four Premier League assignments, their last win coming on New Year's Day against Manchester United. They are currently 10 points adrift of the Champions League but Arteta feels taking it game by game could help bring the Gunners back to the company of elite clubs.

A big problem for Arteta right now is inconsistency. But according to former Gunners striker Alan Smith, Arteta is already mapping out their summer transfer plans to address these deficiencies. It may not seem like that now, given the short span Arteta was given. Smith is confident that the Spanish big boss will eventually get things in order and send his message across, the Evening Standard reported.

“It’s a great chance to hammer home what he wants from a tactical aspect and also a chance to nourish team spirit," Smith said.

“But as any coach will confirm, you’re only as good as your players. That’s why Arteta will already be looking ahead to the summer when we will doubtless see some interesting transfer activity,” he added.

While those are comforting forecasts on the future of Arsenal, it remains that they need to address their present predicament. That starts on Sunday when they face Newcastle in Premier League action. Arteta is expecting some improvements after their mini-break, likely to be part of his evaluation of what needs to be addressed by the summer.