CHAMPIONS LEAGUE : Before returning to the Champions League, Arsenal adopts a new appearance

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE : Before returning to the Champions League, Arsenal adopts a new appearance

Later today, Mikel Arteta will address the media in advance of Wednesday night’s return of Arsenal to the Champions League.

The Spaniard will hold a press conference this afternoon at London Colney to preview his team’s first match in the premier club competition in Europe since that traumatic 5-1 loss to Bayern Munich at home in 2017.

It’s going to be a special night for Arsenal, no doubt about it, but it’s also one of those nights when they have to try to ignore the special nature of the event and focus solely on the task at hand.

Last year’s Europa League showed that PSV is a tough opponent, and they have started this year’s Eredivisie campaign with four straight victories.

In those four games, Peter Bosz’s team has scored 13 goals and given up just one, leading the table.

In the Champions League qualifying match last month, they also defeated Rangers by five points.

So, in order for Arsenal to win on Wednesday night, they will need to perform at their highest level, which they haven’t really done all season.

They have still amassed 13 points in the Premier League out of a possible 15, which is a positive given that they haven’t quite found their best form despite that.

In fact, if they defeat Tottenham this weekend, they will have a better record after six games than they did at the same point last season, when everyone was praising their early form.

In their victory over Everton on Sunday, Arteta’s group revealed another facet. It might not be very attractive, but it might be what’s required to build on the success of the previous season.

Despite how excellent Arsenal was in 2022–23, they still fell short, and Arteta would have spent the summer figuring out what he needed to do to help his team advance in the upcoming season.

And the display at Goodison Park might serve as a good example of the new Arsenal that will be ready for 2023–24.

Although they weren’t at their thrilling best, they choked the life out of the game and gradually wore Everton down.

You always had the impression that the goal would eventually arrive, and once it did, Everton would never regain the lead.

Arsenal has done a great job thus far this season of controlling games, as Arteta has frequently stressed.

To make the games a little bit more bearable, they must now begin scoring a few more goals.

It does seem as though it will happen.

This Arsenal team is loaded with scorers, so it only seems a matter of time before someone takes a serious beating.

The performance of Arteta against PSV will be very intriguing.

Now that he has so many options, his choice of team will be intriguing, not to mention who starts in goal.

Of course David Raya started against Everton, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see Aaron Ramsdale return to the lineup on Wednesday.

It’s possible that Raya keeps his position for the Premier League while Ramsdale now receives the games from the Champions League group stage.

Although Arteta’s remarks about switching up his keepers during games and rotating them were interesting, I do wonder if they weren’t a little bit of a distraction on his part.

Raya’s installation as No. 1 seemed inescapable as soon as he arrived from Brentford.

The fact that it appears to have occurred this early is the only real surprise.

Ramsdale was so crucial to the new Arsenal that has thrived under Arteta over the past couple of years, so it does feel a little harsh to criticize him so harshly.

But Arteta is ruthless, and he won’t think twice to make a change if he thinks it will benefit his team.

As we prepare for Wednesday night, we’ll discuss all of this and more when I sit down with James Benge later today to record our weekly Inside Arsenal extra-time show.

So keep an eye out for that this evening.

You can hear my analysis of that fantastic victory at Goodison Park in the video below while you wait.

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