Arsenal stars is ready to come out firing vs Man City, reveals Arteta

MIKEL ARTETA says Arsenal are in perfect shape to come flying out of the traps when they launch football’s long-awaited comeback.

The Gunners are in the process of organising a couple of warm-up games, probably against Charlton and Brentford, as they put the finishing touches to their return to action.

But it is his first game back at former club Manchester City on Wednesday week which is uppermost in Arteta’s thoughts.

It was boss Arteta’s positive test for coronavirus on March 12 which first plunged football in this country into shutdown.

But he has used the three-month break to focus on getting ninth-placed Arsenal into contention for Champions League qualification.

Etihad chief Pep Guardiola’s former No 2 said: “Going back to Manchester City for the first time is going to be a very special day for me – and I’m really looking forward to it.

“It will be very strange to be there without any supporters and I don’t know what kind of energy will be generated around the stadium.

“The players are certainly going to be able to hear me better and it’s important to motivate them and make sure they have the right energy levels to play like they used to.

“Some things are going to be different and it will be tricky to adapt to that, so we have to think about all these things now and prepare ourselves for the challenge ahead.

“We were on a strong run of results when the football stopped. I was really pleased, because we had been able to connect with our fans and develop the strong bond which had been missing at the Emirates for a few months.

“The supporters felt a certain belief – and were able to trust my ambition to change the situation quickly.

“We got everyone on board to buy into that and over the past few months I have really enjoyed the opportunity to get to know the players much better, personally and professionally.

“We have created some strong links during these difficult moments and generated a really good bond between the whole staff, the board members and everyone around the club.

“So I think we are in a strong position to restart and I think we are on the right track.

“There is still a lot of work to do – but we will get there.”

Arsenal had lost only one of Arteta’s 10 league games in charge and were safely through to the FA Cup quarter-finals after he took over from Unai Emery in December.

Now they face a potential run of 13 games in the space of 45 days, in a hugely testing finale to what has so far been a disappointing season.

Arteta, 38, added: “At the moment we have just started to crawl – and soon we must walk, run and then sprint.

“We are going step by step to see if we can maintain all the really good work we have done so far.

“But now we have a date to restart the Premier League, so let’s finish the season and after that we can talk about the future.

“With all the uncertainty of these unprecedented moments, it’s difficult to know what will happen in the next three months.”