After a long spell on the sidelines Mikel Arteta returned to the Arsenal side in Sunday’s win over Crystal Palace, and is backing the squad to go onto big things this season.

Arteta arrived in London in the same summer that Samir Nasri and Cesc Fàbregas departed. A year later the club sold Alex Song and Robin van Persie who, by all accounts, were (or became) decisive characters in the stands as well as the dressing room.

It’s now a while since Arsenal lost such a key player, while the current squad seems incredibly together. Arteta has spoken about his influence off the pitch, and said that making a difference is made simple when everyone is pulling in the same direction.

“The unity we have is really good so that’s easy to do here than other places,” the Arsenal skipper said to the Arsenal Weeky Podcast as the 2015/16 season got underway.

The club has not done much business yet this summer, but have managed to add Petr Čech from Chelsea. With cover in every position, the squad looks ready for a much talked about title challenge.

“For sure this is the best group of players in terms of numbers and quality that we’ve had for many many years,” Arteta said.

“I think, as I’ve said, the unity we have as a group is really good. I think the cohesion we have around the club in every department, and the fans as well, is probably the closest it’s been.

“We’ve had difficult times,” the captain admitted, referring to years that the club was miles off the pace at the top and had to cope with the loss of star men, “and it was harder to maintain that cohesion.”

It is, however, those more challenging years that have created the spirit in the squad right now.

“When you go through difficult moments together that really helps to get where you want to go afterwards, so we haven’t broken in difficult moments.

“We haven’t started blaming each other and things like that so I’m really confident that this group of players, if we maintain this group of players and start adding things in the next few years, we’ve got a very strong team and a very strong club.”

The squad is strong and the position of the club right now is excellent. Plenty of players already in the first-team squad have a lot of improvement to do.

With everyone at the club pulling in the same direction Arsenal will only go from strength to strength.

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Usually found watching or talking about English or German football. Interested in tactics (but often despairing a lack of them). Favourite players: Bergkamp, Arteta, Özil