Arsene Wenger thinks the signings of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have given the club a boost while claiming the team have a game based on ‘team spirit’.
Technically Mkhitaryan made his debut earlier in the week, in the disappointing loss to Swansea.
In that game he was only a second-half substitute though.
After that, Arsenal signed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and agreed a contract extension with Mesut Özil. All three players started the weekend match against Everton.
Wenger told reporters the positive impact the signings had on morale doesn’t surprise him.
I think as well we have a game based on team spirit so that kind of acceptance is very important.
“Yes, it’s always when you have new players it gives always a little positive swing,” said the manager. “It wakes everybody up as well, because there’s suddenly competition so they have to live with that as well.
“I think as well we have a game based on team spirit so that kind of acceptance is very important. When they show on a football field that they accept our game, they are even easier to integrate into the team.”
The boss then delivered some special praise for Mkhitaryan. The Armenian didn’t have the best time at Manchester United, where Jose Mourinho regularly benched him. Three assists in one start isn’t a bad record for Arsenal, though.
Wenger thinks the 29-year-old’s success comes largely from his love of the game.
“I met Mkhitaryan before, before he came here, because I liked always his game,” Wenger explained. “He’s a player completely focused on football, dedicated totally to the game.
“He comes from a country – Armenia – where you need a special character to become a great football player. You have to really to love it. That’s why he looks happy to play football because he just loves it.”
It’s a good thing the players have settled in so quickly and had such a positive impact.
Arsenal have a key derby match against Tottenham next weekend, so there’s no time to find form. A win would leave the Gunners just one point off fifth, but a defeat makes it a seven point gap to Spurs.
Thankfully, ‘team spirit’ has never really been a problem for games like this one, it’s when we go away to teams like Swansea that Arsenal’s ‘team spirit’ is found wanting.