Arsenal midfielder and vice-captain Mikel Arteta is confident that the players will be ready to hit the ground running when the opening day of the season comes around, despite them coming third in their pre-season tournament, The Emirates Cup, last weekend.

The Gunners only managed a draw on Saturday against Italian side Napoli and they followed that up with a defeat against Turkish side Galatasaray on Sunday.

Before the Emirates Cup, Arsenal had won all four of their pre-season friendlies and the side were scoring with will and enjoying their work during the summer break, but after two sloppy displays at the Emirates, fans have started to worry that the side are not ready for the new Premier League season.

Arteta and co. will fly out to Finland later in the week to play Manchester City in their last friendly before they then entertain Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium on August 17 as the season kicks off.

The vice-captain believes the players are raring to go for the new campaign and the Spaniard is confident they can get off to a good start.

"The atmosphere has been unbelievable," said Arteta. "We have been training really hard and playing well in the games in pre-season. Sunday was a disappointing result but we have been progressing really well and I think we will be fine for the start of the season.

"We have two weeks to go. We have another good test against Manchester City, then we start, and the schedule will be really tight over the next two or three weeks.

"We know that we need to start really well. We can't afford to drop points as we have done at the beginning of the last couple of seasons.

"We know each other better and we are doing things right in the games - we seem very comfortable and compact. On Sunday the fitness levels in the last 20 to 25 minutes dropped and we lost our shape a little bit. That is normal at this stage.

"But I think both [Emirates Cup] games were very competitive. Fitness-wise it was quite demanding as we played 90 minutes on two days. But we will hit the ground running [when the season begins]."


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Mikel Arteta
Premier League