Winterlull over as Arteta prepares for a couple of landmark fixtures

The Winterlull is behind us, and we should start building up to Sunday’s game against Newcastle over the next few days. Obviously the players have enjoyed their break and their time together in Dubai, but with it comes a little extra pressure.

When so many of them have spoken positively, almost glowingly, about life under Mikel Arteta, they need to back that up with performances and results. Arsenal haven’t lost a game since December 29th – the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at the Emirates – but just one win from five subsequent Premier League games means there’s a need to improve. They have all talked the talk, now they have to back that up by walking the walk.

Looking ahead, there are some landmark fixtures that will be very interesting. After Newcastle on Sunday, Arteta will take charge of his first European game as a manager. We travel to Greece to face Olympiacos this day next week, and of course the Europa League is a competition of some importance to Arsenal this season. If your glass is half full, and if you have your most optimistic hat on (perhaps coupled with your lucky underpants), you could let yourself hope it might be third time lucky.

A semi-final exit in…