Arsenal held their first training session in Dubai on Friday as Mikel Arteta set aside some time to catch up with new signing Pablo Mari.
Arteta finally got his man as the January transfer window entered it’s final days, with the Gunners paying a £4million loan fee in order to bolster their defensive ranks.
Now, with the winter break affording a chance to put in vital extra hours on the training ground, Arteta’s side are working on their new style and shape while integrating new boy Mari to the squad.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta issues instructions to new loan signing Pablo Mari in Dubai
The 26-year-old was brought on board on loan as Arsenal paid a £4m fee for his services
Mari looked to quickly settle in to his new surroundings and joked along with his team-mates
Arsenal turned to the Spaniard after a series of injuries left them with a depleted back line
The Spanish boss was seen taking his compatriot to one side ta Arsenal’s plush Dubai base, before speaking to Mari and giving out instructions for a series of defensive drills.
The Gunners have won just two of their last 17 Premier League matches and are currently in 10th place in the Premier League table.
Attacking trio Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil were seen putting in a shift, laughing with team-mates and seemingly shaking off the various speculation of summer exits.
Arteta has made some improvements since taking charge in December, but there is still much work to do and his squad were put through their paces by the Spaniard.
Rob Holding and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were involved in Arsenal’s training session
Ainsley Maitland-Niles closes down Mesut Ozil as the squad are put through their paces
Alexandre Lacazette attempts to get the better of Hector Bellerin during the training session
The Frenchman appeared to be in good spirits despite recent speculation of a possible exit
Mari, who recently joined on loan from Flamengo, took little time throwing himself into the action and played alongside both Bukayo Saka and Reiss Nelson who were also back in full training following recent injuries.
Calum Chambers, Kieran Tierney and loan arrival Cedric Soares each still remain sidelined. The entire Arsenal first-team squad bar Chambers has made the trip to Dubai.
Meanwhile, midfielder Matteo Guendouzi has said that Arsenal fans have higher expectations of him now.
Guendouzi told the club’s official website: ‘The fans definitely expect different things from me now,’ the 20-year-old told Arsenal Player. ‘Right at the beginning, last year, I arrived as a new player, a young player who had just arrived and who was unknown.
There was a boost for Arsenal as youngster Bukayo Saka made a quick recovery from injury
Bellerin, Gabriel Martinelli and Mari were all involved in the intense training session in Dubai
Midfielder Matteo Guendouzi (right) says Arsenal fans now have higher expectations of him
‘Then, inevitably, my playing well from the beginning last year was something new but I was still seen as a young player and new player that they did not know. Now, I have shown them what I am capable of.
‘I have shown them that I can help the team a lot. So it is normal that they now expect a lot more from me, especially as I have played a lot of games last season.
‘Then, since the beginning of the season, I have started in numerous games so it is normal that they expect a lot from me. In any case, I will always try to meet [those expectations] on the pitch.
Guendouzi, who is in his second season at Arsenal, has already made 77 appearances for the Gunners at the age of 20.