|Mikel Arteta tell Arsenal fans to "tranquilo" ahead of the new season after midfield struggles in a friendly against United. (Photo credit: Euro Sport)|
Mikel Arteta has urged fans of Arsenal to remain "tranquilo" about the club's new-look midfield despite fears they lack sufficient physicality after the club lost 2-0 to Manchester United in a friendly in New York.
Arteta started new signings Declan Rice and Kai Havertz together alongside club captain Martin Odegaard in a 4-3-3 shape, with the club's third arrival from Ajax, Jurrien Timber, drifting into central positions from right-back, but Arsenal struggled to produce their best.
Swiss star Granit Xhaka left the club earlier this summer to join Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen in a deal that could be worth up to £21 million ($27 million), and ahead of their final pre-season friendly in the USA against FC Barcelona in Los Angeles, Arteta played down criticism over his new-look team's performance.
"We have to find the right balance, but a year ago Granit could never play as an attacking midfielder," he said. "Let's try to do the work.
"It's the first time we played with four players inside, and three of them had never played together, ever. So: tranquilo.
"Day by day, keep doing the right things and giving people the opportunity to settle in, and we will be fine.
"You use the word 'physical, but if I put Granit and Kai [together], who is more physical? Granit? Yeah? Havertz is 1.91 metres. It depends on what physical is.
"Physical is to run, to run in behind, to run forward, to tackle, and to defend. He will fit in with the qualities we have for sure, and the good thing is that we have options in midfield.
"When we want a game to become more physical, we have the option to be very, very physical, so we have the right options."