Mikel Arteta punished his Arsenal squad with an immediate training session after their pre-season defeat to Manchester United.
Arsenal were surprisingly disappointing in their 2-0 defeat in New York last Saturday despite new signings Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber all featuring, and Arteta was clearly not happy.
It has now been confirmed in The Athletic that he forced the squad to complete an extra session on the pitch following the defeat, which ended after the Man United team had left the stadium, over an hour and a half after the final whistle in the game.
What impact did this have?
Arteta’s message was clearly received by the players, as they went on to beat Barcelona 5-3 in the next friendly, and the performance was much improved.
Arsenal had a near-perfect pre-season campaign last year, and this preparation saw them win their first five league games, with new signings Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko settling instantly.
Arteta will hope for a similar start this season, and by confirming over £200m of signings early on in the window, it is clear that he puts great importance on these pre-season friendlies as a means of getting these new recruits up to speed tactically.
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Arsenal have one more friendly, today in the Emirates Cup against Monaco, before facing the treble-winners Manchester City in the Community Shield on Sunday.
Havertz and Rice may be expected to start in both games, and it remains to be seen if and where Timber will appear, as the Dutchman could fill in at left-back for the injured Zinchenko.
Pre-season preparation is mostly about fitness, but given that Rice and Havertz are expected to form a new-look midfield shape, there will be extra focus on both players gelling together well at the sold-out Emirates, as they appear at the ground in Arsenal shirts for the first time.