Biggest test yet to come for Mikel Arteta as Arsenal handed major warning ahead of defining run

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It is an enjoyable time to be an Arsenal fan right now.

Results are positive, academy graduates are impressing and the focus remains on securing a European qualification spot this season.

Whilst all the talk is rightly emphasising how much the team have improved, it should be noted that there are still many similarities to the previous campaign.

If results against the relegated and promoted sides are taken away, Arsenal actually have the same number of points this season from games compared to last season’s results.

Interestingly, Arsenal went on a similar run last season only losing once in nine games 11 months ago and then followed it up with one win in six.

As the old saying goes, form is temporary but class is permanent and the unpredictability of Premier League football means that it is important to take some perspective.

There are many positives, one of which is Arsenal’s solid defence, thanks to the return of Gabriel and Ben White who have forged a terrific partnership at centre back.

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“The potential [to do that] is there because of the qualities they have individually, how they can complement each other with those qualities and, obviously with the age group that we have there,” he said when asked if they could play together for five or six years.

“If we manage them well and they are willing to sustain that, they have a really bright future.”

“Gabriel has been crucial,” he said.

“He came back from a knee injury so he missed all the pre-season, but he came in a different way. He showed a different maturity, a different level of application. His lifestyle has improved a lot, his language has improved a lot, and then he has all the qualities to be a superb central defender. I’m really pleased with what he is doing.”

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Arsenal’s next six Premier League games are against Liverpool, Newcastle, Manchester United, Everton, Southampton and West Ham.

From the corresponding games last season, the Gunners picked up seven points, which, were things to follow a similar pattern, all might not look quite so rosy in Mikel Arteta’s garden come mid-December.

“Winning before the international break is always great. It keeps the momentum going, the atmosphere good with the players that have to be here – good vibes.

“And for the players who have to go on internationals, we have to try and plan things and know what we have to do there.”

Victories against Jurgen Klopp’s side and the impressive West Ham would certainly show that Arsenal mean business.

Fifth place shows that the Gunners are a work in progress but the upcoming fixtures will really show how far Arteta’s side have come since the £150million investment in the summer.

Source by Football London

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