Sport News: Mikel Arteta Optimistic Pablo Mari Will Be Ready For Arsenal’s Clash With Newcastle

Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta has said that he is optimistic over whether new defender Pablo Mari will be up to speed in time to face Newcastle after the club’s winter break, though did state that both Mari and fellow January addition Cedric Soares will continue to be “managed wisely”.

The Gunners’ porous backline has been the topic of much discussion in recent times, with questions being asked of the quality possessed by the likes of Shkodran Mustafi, while injuries to first-team players have also played a part.

Arteta and Co. moved to remedy some of those issues in the January transfer window, however, with Mari and Cedric being brought in to bolster the club’s options, and the boss was quizzed on whether the new additions would be primed and ready for their next fixture.

“With Pablo a little bit more than Cedric,” Arteta told Arsenal’s official website. “But we have to go step by step. He is a new player and I am sure he is very excited and wants to prove everything in three days, so we have to manage him wisely.”

The 2019-20 season marks the first time the Premier League has scheduled a winter break, with teams having complained for some time of fixture congestion and player burnout.

Asked whether he would have liked a similar mid-season lay-off when he was a player, Arteta was unequivocal.

“One hundred per cent,” he said. “We were always complaining or frustrated that the demands of games were really hectic and we didn’t have time to recover.

“The new players that we have, it is a great opportunity for them to spend time together with the other players, get to know each other, live together – the same with the backroom staff as well. I think it will be a very important break.

“You can’t just maintain the same level of demands of pressure throughout 10 months, it is impossible. You need those breaks.

“We suggested Dubai because we have those relationships with our sponsor, but as well because the weather conditions are really good and the players like to come here.

We knew most of them were going to come here and relax with their families and be ready for training.

“It is not just the physical side, it is a psychological thing. To maintain for 10 months this type of level is very complicated, so I think it will be a positive thing for the league.”

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