London (AFP) – Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is confident the club’s “mini pre-season” in Dubai will help them cope with a hectic schedule following the Premier League’s new mid-season break.
The Gunners return to action against Newcastle United on Sunday, the first in a run of games encompassing the Premier League, Europa League and the FA Cup between now and the start of March.
“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.”
Arsenal going into Sunday’s match 10th, with Spanish boss Arteta having only claimed three victories for the London club since replacing Unai Emery on December 20.
They have drawn their last four Premier League matches, with their last league win coming against Manchester United on New Years Day.
Arsenal are currently 10 points adrift of the Champions League places but Arteta said his aim was to get the Gunners back among European football’s elite clubs.
“I want to go game by game,” he said. “At the moment we are far from it, but there are a lot of games to play.”
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