Mikel Arteta will be speaking to the media later today ahead of Arsenal’s return to the Champions League on Wednesday night.
The Spaniard will sit down for his press conference this afternoon at London Colney to preview his side’s first game in Europe’s elite club competition since that haunting 5-1 home defeat by Bayern Munich in 2017.
There’s no doubt it’s going to be a special night for Arsenal, but it’s one of those nights when they have to try and forget about the occasion and just concentrate on what’s in front of them.
PSV proved in the Europa League last season that they are no pushovers and they have started the new season with four wins from four in the Eredivisie.
Peter Bosz’s side have scored 13 goals and conceded just one in those four games and sit top of the table. They also put five past Rangers in the Champions League qualifier last month.
So Arsenal are going to have to be at their best if they are going to come out on top on Wednesday night and that’s something they have yet to really achieve this season.
Champions League week…..— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) September 18, 2023
How nice does that sound? pic.twitter.com/KbM5KrekQt
The good thing from that, however, is that even though they haven’t hit top gear, they have still picked up 13 points from a possible 15 in the Premier League.
In fact, if they beat Spurs this weekend, they will have a better record after their opening six games than they did at the same stage last season, when their early form was being praised by everyone.
Sunday’s win at Everton showed another side of Arteta’s team. It might not be overly pretty, but it could be what’s needed to build on last season’s success.
As great as Arsenal were in 2022/23, they still fell short and Arteta would have spent the summer working out what he needed to do to allow his side to go one step further over the coming campaign.
And the performance at Goodison Park could be a good example of the new look Arsenal that is emerging for 2023/24. They weren’t at their thrilling best, but they strangled the life out of the game and slowly ground Everton down.
You always felt the goal would come and when it did, you never felt Everton would get back in.
Arteta has long spoken about the need for Arsenal to control games and we’ve seen them do that very well so far this season. What they need to do now though is start scoring a few more goals so the games are a little bit more comfortable.
You do feel like that will come though. There are plenty of goals in this Arsenal team and it feels like a matter of time before someone gets a real beating.
It will be really interesting to see what Arteta does against PSV.
He has so many options now and his team selection will be intriguing, not least who starts in goal.
David Raya obviously got the nod against Everton, but it would be no surprise to see Aaron Ramsdale come back into the side on Wednesday night.
It could be that Ramsdale now gets the Champions League group stage games while Raya keeps his place for the Premier League.
Arteta’s comments about rotating his keepers and potentially substituting them during games were interesting, but I do wonder whether that was a bit of a deflection tactic from him.
As soon as Raya arrived from Brentford it felt inevitable that he would be installed as No.1 at some point. The only real surprise is that it seems to have happened this early.
It does feel a bit harsh on Ramsdale as he has been so integral to this new look Arsenal we’ve seen flourish under Arteta during the past couple of years.
But Arteta is ruthless and if he feels that making a change will make his team better, then he won’t hesitate in doing it.
Anyway, I’ll be sitting down with James Benge later on today to record our weekly Inside Arsenal extra-time show and we’ll debate all of that and more as we look ahead to Wednesday night.
So keep your eyes peeled for that this evening. Until then, you can listen to me dissecting that excellent win at Goodison Park below.