The new Gunners boss watched the 0-0 draw against Everton from the stands, and one of his new charges has high hopes for the future
Calum Chambers always knew Mikel Arteta would go on to become a top coach.
The defender is one of three players in the current Arsenal squad who played with the Spaniard during his five-year spell in north London between 2011 and 2016.
Chambers arrived at Arsenal from Southampton in 2014 and was a team-mate of Arteta for two seasons before the latter brought the curtain down on his career to make the move into coaching with Manchester City.
And now, three years later, they have been reunited once again with Arteta overseeing his first game as Arsenal’s new boss on Saturday as they drew 0-0 at Everton.
The 37-year-old was appointed on Friday and although it was Freddie Ljungberg who was in charge at Goodison Park, he travelled up to Merseyside to watch the game from the stands.
Arteta spoke to his players before and after the stalemate and Chambers – who was named man of the match – admits he is excited by the prospect of working with his former captain once again.
“When I first came here he was one of the senior players,” said the 24-year-old. “He helped me and gave me advice on positional play.
“He was a very intelligent player, you could always tell he had that side to him. I’m excited, everyone’s excited to learn his philosophy.
“We just need to get our identity back. I know he wants to do that. It will take time but I know he can get that out of us. The message is we’re all excited to start working with him.”
Arteta travelled up to Everton on the morning of the match and spoke in the changing room before kick-off, setting out exactly what he wanted to see from his players.
And although they failed to get the three points, he was happy with the manner of the performance as a young Arsenal side, which included teenagers Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, Reiss Nelson and Gabriel Martinelli, more than matched their hosts.
“He said that we put into play what he wanted from us,” Chambers revealed after the goalless draw. “The message before the game was be brave, take responsibility and work hard for each other. We did that on the pitch.
“He said afterwards it was a good start and there’s things to work on. He was proud of the way we worked.
“We’re all excited to work with him, that’s the main feeling around the camp. We all showed good spirit and are excited to go in and start working with him next week.”
The clean sheet at Goodison Park was Arsenal’s first in 15 games, it ended a run which stretched back to the 1-0 success against Bournemouth on October 6.
It was also the first time they had shut a side out on their travels in the league since they kicked off the 2019/20 season with a 1-0 win at Newcastle on the opening weekend of the campaign.
“It’s a good feeling,” admitted Chambers. “I felt we deserved the clean sheet, everybody worked really hard as a team.
“Obviously we were a bit disappointed we didn’t get the win but there was a lot of good things to come out of that game. It’s a good building block for us.”