Arsenal must turn fortunes around during festive period
- Credit: PA
Arsenal head into a vital festive as they need to start turning their fortunes around with clashes against Chelsea and Brighton & Hove Albion before heading into the New Year.
The Gunners will welcome London rivals Chelsea to the Emirates Stadium on Boxing Day (Saturday, 5.30pm) before then making the trip down to the coast on Tuesday, December 29.
Mikel Arteta’s men currently sit 15th in the Premier League after the opening 14 matches of the campaign and have more recently crashed out of the Carabao Cup at the quarter-final stage with a heavy 4-1 defeat to Manchester City.
Arteta has not seen his side win a domestic game since November 1 but he opted to make eight changes to the team that lost at Everton on Saturday.
The boss defended his team selection following a tough period of games and a tricky festive fixture list ahead.
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"It was a combination of the amount of games that some of them have played, some players could not be involved, and others deserved to play," Arteta said.
"It is a painful moment again, we started the game and conceded a soft goal really early. After that in this moment, to get over that is difficult."
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The Spaniard also played down fears of another long-term injury to Martinelli and praised the teenager's impact on his first start since March.
"Gabi has a unique energy and a way to transmit his passion for the game," he added.
"I think he plays the game in a different way to any other player so it is hard to compare him.
"But it is great to have him back, to bring that spirit, that fight and after such a long time to play against this opponent, the way he did it I think in the first half, it is something to be really proud of."
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola insists Arsenal would be making a "big mistake" if they decide to sack Mikel Arteta following yet another defeat.
"They will do a huge, big mistake," he told BBC Radio 5 Live when asked about Arteta's future.
"I'm pretty sure they are going to trust him. I understand for the analysts, analyse the results.
"But I was with him many years and I know his incredible quality as a human being and especially as a manager, how he is involved in everything. It's just a question of time and he will do well.
"I'm not on the board. For me they will do a big mistake if they are thinking. They give him the confidence, they won two titles when for a long time ago it didn't happen at this club.”