Mikel Arteta believes a London derby victory over Chelsea would give Arsenal the momentum to turn their fortunes around and help to rebuild their relationship with their fans.
Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth in Arteta’s first match at the helm on Boxing Day, meaning they have won just one of their past 14 matches in all competitions.
Chelsea will provide the opposition for the Spaniard’s Emirates Stadium bow and the Blues head into Sunday’s game following a disappointing 2-0 loss to Southampton on Thursday.
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Arteta is hopeful the Gunners can compound Chelsea’s misery and kick-start a lacklustre campaign, which sees them sitting 11th in the Premier League.
“I think energy is everything, in life, in football and sports, and if we are able to generate this [against Chelsea] it will give us a lift,” said Arteta.
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“I was really pleased how the fans treated the players [at Bournemouth] and I was happy that the players went to see the fans after the game as well because we need that connection.
“Slowly we need to build that back to what it was because it’s going to be very powerful for us to use that.
“[Chelsea] are a terrific team, so it will be a really good test for us.”
Arteta acknowledged he needs to get the players to buy into his philosophy in order to win over the fans, who have regularly voiced their discontent at performances of Granit Xhaka, Mesut Ozil and the team as a whole.
“First, I think I need the players, and if I convince the players after we can convince the fans, but yeah, I think it’s a very important part of the job,” Arteta said of getting the supporters onside.
“We play for them. At the end of the day they expect a lot from us, we have to give them enjoyment, we have to make their lives better and when we win they will leave better because they will be happier.
“It’s our responsibility and we have to do everything we can to achieve that.”
Following the match against the Blues, Arsenal will host Manchester United at the Emirates on New Year’s Day.