New-look Arsenal united on and off the pitch going into crunch Chelsea showdown

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Mikel Arteta is convinced everyone at Arsenal is finally pulling in the same direction – from the boardroom to the dressing room to the stands.

And he is equally certain that show of unity behind one cause will be evident this afternoon when his Gunners host red-hot, bitter-rivals Chelsea

After opening the campaign with a humiliating 2-0 reverse at newly-promoted Brentford eight days ago, many of the usual fears among the North Londoners' faithful resurfaced.

However, dismissing talk of an early crisis inside the camp, defiant Arteta insisted he has no concerns as to how the supporters might react should things start to go wrong against Thomas Tuchel’s European champions.

Quite the reverse. The Spaniard is actually predicting a buoyant, rocking atmosphere inside the Emirates.

Firstly, he reckons the supporters: have bought into the club’s masterplan of recruiting younger talent with the potential to light up N5 for years to come.

And he also feels they fully understand that nothing less than unwavering belief will do if his inexperienced group are to bounce back from that morale-crushing defeat to the Bees.

Boss Arterta, in his second full season at the helm, declared: “We’re going to have the help of our fans on Sunday, which is very, very important.

"No, I don’t think they will be in an apprehensive mood. They will be right behind the team. They know what we are trying to do. They can see it.

“If you can’t see this, it’s because you don’t want to…and you want to see something different. But our supporters know what’s coming.

“They will be there for us because they know, as well, that our young players need them more than ever.

"Arsenal fans, when things are a bit difficult, are always behind the team. I can say that, for sure, as I’ve felt it as a player here.”

Arsenal have spent well over £100million this summer – the most of any Premier League outfit so far.

The arrivals, which include £50m Ben White and £30m Martin Odegaard, would seem to suggest the club hierarchy still consider Arteta the right man to revive the glory days.

Yet, according to the Emirates coach, they are operating in the market at a very different level to Chelsea, who last week blew £97.5m to sign Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku for a second time.

“We’re bringing in players we can afford and that can help us achieve what we want,” claimed the ex-Manchester City assistant manager. “We're happy with what we’ve done in a difficult window.

“But Chelsea have a different plan. We can see what they’ve done in the last ten years. The amount of titles they’ve won and the type of titles.

“We’re in a different phase, at a different stage."

Arsenal did the league double over the Blues last season yet Arteta is under no illusions regards the challenge awaiting his depleted COVID-hit squad this time round.

But he remains bullish that England ace Bukayo Saka and Co will rise to the occasion.

Arteta said: “ In order to beat Chelsea, we need to be perfect. Individually and collectively, we must have an extraordinary game. We have to perform at the highest level.

"But the young players can cope with this level of pressure because of the excitement, the passion and the enthusiasm that they have behind them.

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  • Premier League
  • Arsenal FC
  • Chelsea FC
  • Mikel Arteta

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