Mikel Arteta has played down Arsenal’s defeat by Brentford, saying the friendly was nothing more than minutes on the clock for his squad.
The Gunners and Manchester City are the first Premier League teams to return to action when they go head to head at the Etihad next Wednesday.
Arteta has been putting his side through its paces in preparation, but despite goals from Joe Willock and Alexandre Lacazette in a friendly match against Championship outfit Brenford last week, it was the Bees who came out on top 3-2.
“We’re trying different things,” Arteta told Sky Sports, when asked about the defeat. “We’re trying to give minutes in their legs to all of the players, obviously you have to change a lot of players through the games.
Getting adapted to playing in an empty stadium as well, not having that energy from the fans. It was good, we played two friendlies, we’re getting a bit of rhythm, we haven’t played for a while, we tried to make is as close as possible to a real game.”
The Premier League was suspended in March, and Arteta fears that teams in the English top-flight are going to struggle with the physical demands put on them.
Arteta added: “I think that’s a big question mark. We’ve been trying in big groups just for 10 days. You can play a friendly game, you can play 45 minutes, but it’s not the same as Premier League rhythm at all.
“We will have to see that. I think it will be very difficult to sustain big rhythms for 90 minutes for the first few games at least.”