Arsenal officially began their 2020/21 season with yet another win over Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool which stood as Mikel Arteta’s fifth win against the traditional ‘big six’ since taking charge in December.
Victories over Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool [in July] and Manchester United make up the grand total of five. Even under Arsene Wenger, the Gunners would struggle in these intense meetings, but the shift since the former captain returned as head coach has provided rightful optimism among fans, but players too.
Although a bulk of players returned for pre-season training a week before the Community Shield [August 22], some didn’t arrive at London Colney until after Tuesday’s [August 25] friendly against MK Dons.
With these players in particular, Arteta was impressed by their mental approach to facing the Premier League champions as there was no thought other than securing another Wembley win in their minds.
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“Two days ago [Thursday August 27] we started to have players back in training, some of them only had one training session, and I didn’t hear one excuse about ‘they’ve been two weeks in Austria’, ‘they had better preparation’, none of that,” he said after winning the Community Shield.
“When I was in the dressing room today I had the feeling they believed we could win and they didn’t feel any fear.
“Obviously they have a lot of respect for Liverpool, the incredible team that they are, but they went to really go for it and believe that we could win another trophy. They showed from the first minute the courage and the passion on that pitch.”
As is the nature of this pre-season in particular, Arsenal have continued to rely on young talent to see them through games.
More so in the MK Dons friendly when the norm of wholesale second half changes were in session. Against Liverpool,…