LONDON ( Associated Press) — Arsenal manager Mike Arteta faces another challenge that dwarfs the club’s feat of reaching the top of the Premier League table in the early part of the campaign before the World Cup break: its unlikely streak. How to maintain
The Gunners hope to pick up the season where they left off six weeks ago when they complete a seven-game schedule, hosting West Ham in the final game on Boxing Day on Monday.
Arsenal were the best team in the Premier League in the first half of the campaign and have a five-point lead over Manchester City, but they will struggle without Brazil’s Gabriel Jesus, who is recovering from a knee injury. in Qatar.
In contrast, 16th-ranked West Ham have barely managed to stay out of the relegation zone after a slow start to the season, managing just four wins in the first 15 games, but Arteta is not taking the Hammers lightly.
“We need to do that on the pitch. We’ve talked about it. We know the importance of strong starts and we are playing at home”, assured Arteta. “It is a special day in the history of the Premier League, it is a family day to play football, it is a wonderful atmosphere and We want to make the most of it.”
He also praised his youth players for their consistency in the first 14 games of the season, a stretch that included wins against the likes of Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea. However, he still has an even tougher challenge ahead of him.
“Probably at the level we’ve shown and the consistency we have with this group and age, it’s not easy,” the coach admitted. “We show great maturity at certain times, especially against bigger rivals.”
The Gunners will play six games over the next 28 days and have an equally tight schedule in February.
“There are going to be times in which we will have time to train and others in which we will have back-to-back matches and there will be congested times,” Arteta said.
Tottenham will travel to the other side of London to face Brentford in the first match of the day. Spurs manager Antonio Conte believes the league resumes soon after the World Cup final.
The Premier League restarted just eight days after the Tottenham pair of France’s Hugo Lloris and Argentina’s Cristian Romero met in the World Cup final.
In the day’s other matches, Crystal Palace hosted Fulham in another London derby, Everton hosted Wolves, Newcastle traveled to Leicester, Brighton traveled to Southampton and Liverpool faced Aston Villa.