Football

Mikel Arteta: Arsenal’s upturn depends on next two EPL games

Manager Arteta says building on their three-match winning run could signal they have turned the corner

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta believes his side's next two games against Crystal Palace and Newcastle United in the English Premier League will give a clear indication of the direction the Gunners are headed.

Arsenal face Palace tomorrow morning (Singapore time) hoping to build momentum and extend their three-game winning streak in the league and four in all competitions.

English Premier League
ARSENAL CRYSTAL PALACE

This run comes after the Gunners went winless in the league since a 1-0 victory over Manchester United on Nov 1, leaving them hovering just above the relegation zone as pressure mounted on Arteta.

"The next two games are crucial to see the direction that we are taking and to reinforce all the things that we have improved on and the results that we are having recently," Arteta, whose side are now 11th in the league, was quoted as saying on the club's website.

"We want to keep that consistency and having the belief that we can go into every game with the feeling that we are going to win it.

"To start thinking more about the table in a different direction, if we are able to win these matches, we will start to look in a much more positive way."

However, Arteta is aware of the threats from Palace, who sit a point and two places below the Gunners.

The Eagles have been hard to break down and rely heavily on a pacey counter-attack, and have taken points off three of the top-five teams in EPL leaders United, Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur.

"Palace are a really dangerous side and they have shown that against big teams," the 38-year-old Spaniard said.

"They are a really compact and organised team, and they have players with a big individual talent who can create actions that can unbalance the game, so we have to be very careful with that. Then, we have to play to be dominant again in the game."

Arsenal could have defender Gabriel Magalhaes and midfielder Thomas Partey available for Palace, while forward Gabriel Martinelli is expected back in training in the next few days following an ankle injury.

Magalhaes has returned from a period in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19, while Partey has recovered from a thigh injury.

Meanwhile, Arsenal have also confirmed a new three-year contract for 25-year-old defender Rob Holding on Tuesday. - REUTERS

Football