Arsenal’s next two Premier League games against Crystal Palace and Newcastle United will be a true measure of the improvement the London club have made in the last few weeks, manager Mikel Arteta said on Monday.
Arsenal have won their last three league matches in a row and began their FA Cup title defence on Saturday with a 2-0 win over Newcastle coming on the back of two extra-time goals.
Arteta’s side welcome Palace to the Emirates Stadium on Thursday before hosting Newcastle four days later.
“The next two games are crucial to see the direction we’re taking to reinforce the things we have improved on,” Arteta, whose side are 11th in the league after a poor start, told a news conference.
“The results we have had recently. We will know much more in the next two games.”
Forward Gabriel Martinelli was in tears after injuring his ankle in the warm-up ahead of the FA Cup game but Arteta said he was hopeful the 19-year-old Brazilian could return soon.
“We didn’t look after the game because he was in a lot of pain. Yesterday he tested a little bit better so let’s hope we have a scan today and it’s not as serious… we can have Gabi back really soon,” Arteta said.
“I was gutted for him… He had really bad luck.”
Arteta added midfielder Thomas Partey was ready to return from a thigh injury. However, the Spanish coach said that nothing had changed yet regarding the future of outcast Mesut Ozil, with the German midfielder set to leave the club if they receive a good offer.