HomeFootball NewsA rocky pre-season so far for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal

A rocky pre-season so far for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal


Arsenal have played five matches in their 2023 pre-season campaign so far and have managed to win two matches, drawing two and losing once.

A quick look at the Gunners’ preseason results so far:

  • 1-1 vs Watford
  • 1-1 vs FC Nürnberg
  • 5-0 win vs MLS All-Stars
  • 2-0 loss vs Manchester United
  • 5-3 win vs FC Barcelona

Despite only losing one game in their first five friendlies this summer, there have been question marks over Mikel Arteta’s side already. In their first two fixtures, they failed to pick up a win against lesser opposition, in Championship side Watford and 2.Bundesliga club FC Nürnberg.

Then followed a comfortable 5-0 win against the MLS All-Stars in which Arsenal looked like they were back to their quality of last season, but a poor 2-0 loss to fellow Premier League side Manchester United raised eyebrows for the wrong reasons.

New signing Kai Havertz came under fire after his performances against FC Nürnberg and Manchester United, but he was quick to silence his doubters with a goal against Barcelona. Confidence will be key for the German, who suffered criticism for his performances at Chelsea last season.

Havertz has so far featured in a midfield three for Arsenal, which has also included the likes of Thomas Partey, Martin Ødegaard, and Declan Rice.

Other new signings such as Declan Rice and Jurrien Timber haven’t hit the ground running either, as Declan Rice was outshone by Manchester United youngster Kobbie Mainoo, and missed the Gunners’ 5-3 win vs Barcelona due to injury. Timber gave away a lazy free-kick against the Spanish champions, which did lead to a goal from the set-piece, albeit taking a deflection off Ødegaard.

However, Arsenal’s front three – whoever is in it – know how to score goals. Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus, Marquinhos, Leandro Trussardi and Gabriel Martinelli combined have 10 goal involvements. These players have all featured in the Gunners’ front three and the fact they’re finding goals is a huge positive for Arteta.

The talent Arsenal have going forward is clear to see and some of the goals scored by the side from the Emirates Stadium have been world-class. No matter who plays in the attacking positions in pre-season, they seem to deliver for the side, which is a huge positive going into the upcoming campaign.

In defence, some poor mistakes have been made leading to goals. For example, a miskick against Manchester United and a poor save gave the Red Devils two goals against the 2022-23 Premier League runners-up. Only one clean sheet in five games and seven goals conceded will be a concern for Arteta.

Although it’s early days, there are plenty of positives and negatives for Arteta to mull over. His side have had so much success at the top end of the pitch in front of goal, but have struggled to keep the ball out of the back of their own net at times.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.


Ancelotti hungry for UCL success with Real Madrid to go with LaLiga triumph

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti is eyeing the Champions League trophy to go alongside the club's LaLiga success. Los Blancos confirmed their record-breaking 36th title at...

De Zerbi hails Aston Villa as ‘one of the best teams in the Premier League’

Roberto De Zerbi says his Brighton side beat "one of the best teams in the Premier League" on Sunday. The Seagulls took all three points thanks...

Madueke backing Chelsea for Europe after West Ham thumping

Noni Madueke is backing Chelsea to finish as high as possible after the Blues thrashed West Ham 5-0 in the Premier League. First-half goals from Cole...

Sean Dyche slams VAR for missed penalty in Luton-Everton draw

Everton boss Sean Dyche believes VAR missed a second penalty for his side during the 1-1 draw with Luton Town on Friday night. The Toffees denied...

Most Popular