Mikel Arteta has been surprised by Gabriel Jesus’ swift adaptation to life at Arsenal and is relishing harnessing the Brazilian’s “contagious” mentality.
The Gunners kick-off the new Premier League season
away at Crystal Palace on Friday Night Football – live on Sky Sports – with Jesus expected to make his competitive debut for the club following his £45million transfer from champions Manchester City.
With Jesus shouldering the new-found burden of expectation his arrival in north London has generated, Arteta called for patience, but the manager insists the early signs are promising.
“When you bring in top players who are coming from top clubs where they have been extremely successful over the years, they are going to expect that expectation,” Arteta said.
“The role Gabriel has here is going to be very different to the role he had at his previous club, that needs some adaptation and some time.
“He’s done it fantastically well, we are surprised how quickly he has done it, but we have to share that responsibility.
“He’s an enormous talent, a player with mentality that is so contagious, and he is going to give us a lot, but it is a team contribution at the end of the day.”
Arteta’s position at Arsenal came under intense scrutiny at the start of last season after newly-promoted Brentford inflicted the first of three defeats in their opening three Premier League outings.
However, after a summer spending spree and 100 per cent record from five pre-season matches, the Spaniard insists preparations for this season will ensure the Gunners make the best possible start this time.
“It is different, everything that happened before that game [at Brentford] was pretty strange and unique, the preparation, the pre-season we had,” he added.
“Now is different context, we are really excited, looking forward to the new season and will try and start in the best possible way. This is how we have with our preparation.”
Asked whether his Arsenal team were finally in his image after the summer recruitment drive, Arteta added: “It’s always been my team, these are our players and always we have had intentions to get the best out of them.
“It’s true we have trimmed and changed the squad massively in the last two windows and you feel like now the players we have are more specific and better to the way we want to play.”
Arteta: Arsenal remain ‘very active’ in market
In addition to the arrival of Jesus, the Gunners secured the services of Oleksandr Zinchenko, Fabio Vieira, Marquinhos and Matt Turner this summer and Arteta revealed there could be further incomings and departures before the September deadline.
“We are really active, as you can see, with comings in and out,” he revealed. “As you can see, everything is still open, it’s a long window.
“A lot has happened, it’s incredible how much business clubs have done across the Premier League, and it shows how competitive it’s going to be this season, it’s not going to stop. Some players need to leave, some need to move, and everything is open still.”
Arsenal’s last trip to Selhurst Park was the catalyst for their costly end of season decline, which culminated in rivals Tottenham pipping them to a top-four finish and Champions League qualification.
Arteta hopes lessons were learned that 3-0 defeat in April, adding: “They showed last season how tough and difficult they are to beat, and how consistent they were at home, especially against the big teams.
“They got some great results, the result against us, hopefully we learned lessons that day because there were 30 minutes we had on that day that were nowhere near the standards that we needed and we paid a price for it.”
Arteta continued: “We are all enthusiastic, we had the pre-season we wanted, we were well organised, we had good results, good performances, good preparations, but now the ball starts to roll tomorrow evening in a completely different context against a Premier League team and we know what to expect.
“But it is true, we have a level of energy and ambition to have a successful season and we have to show that on the pitch tomorrow night.”
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