Wednesday, 22 August 2012

‘Our new signings can make the difference’

By Chris Harris

Mikel Arteta is confident that Arsenal can thrive without Robin van Persie and Alex Song - especially once their new signings settle in.

The Spanish midfielder operated in a deeper midfield role against Sunderland on Saturday in the absence of Song and his passing range and positional awareness helped Arsenal dominate their opening Premier League fixture.

Arsène Wenger's side had to settle for a 0-0 draw after squandering their chances but Arteta saw enough to suggest that Arsenal's new-look side will compete for honours this season.

"I think we are looking good," he said. "We looked really organised on Saturday, just maybe in the final third we didn't take the chances we should have done.

"It will take a while because there have been some new players coming in and we are building a new team. We have lost some important players too so we will need some time. But we wanted to start with a win and that is why we are disappointed.

"We know that our new players can make the difference as well. We will have to give them a chance to settle into a new place."

Arteta was a regular alongside Song in his first season at Emirates Stadium but he linked up well with fellow Spaniard Santi Cazorla and the fit-again Abou Diaby at the weekend - with plenty of other midfield options waiting in the wings.

"I felt really comfortable when I played with Alex last year, he was a terrific player," said Arteta. "But if he and the Club decided that the best option was for him to leave we have to accept it. I think we are good enough to carry on without him."