Mikel Arteta has five key games as pressure mounts at Arsenal after their dismal start

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 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

It is only the end of August and already Amazon Prime’s decision to film a behind-the-scenes documentary at Arsenal for the 2021-22 season looks like a masterstroke.

The first month of the campaign has been a dramatic and turbulent one, and the next one feels decisive for Mikel Arteta as he bids to turn things around at Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal have no points, no goals and sit rock bottom of the Premier League after three games. To make matters worse, Tottenham top the table.

It has been a record-breaking start to the season for Arsenal, but for all the wrong reasons.

This is the first time since 1954 they have lost their opening three League games, while they are only the second team in Premier League history to lose their first three matches of a season with a goal difference of minus nine.

Arteta has been backed by the club’s hierarchy so far but is under growing pressure.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Five matches after the international break feel decisive as, mercifully, the fixtures ease for Arsenal after a start that included playing Chelsea and Manchester City.

The Gunners host Norwich next in a bottom-of-the table clash that could go a long way to deciding Arteta’s future. Defeat seems unthinkable.

After that, they travel to Burnley, before playing AFC Wimbledon in the Carabao Cup. The north London derby at Emirates Stadium awaits at the end of the month. They then play Brighton before the next international break, and by then Arteta needs to show he is the man to lead the club forward.

We have seen already how the fans’ patience is wearing thin, with Arsenal booed off at half-time and full-time as they lost

to Chelsea. What will the atmosphere be like if they fall behind at home to Norwich next week or if they are still struggling when they host Spurs on September 26?

Arteta has been backed heavily in the transfer market this summer and, going into transfer deadline day, Arsenal were the biggest gross spenders, with an outlay of more than £130million. Those signings had a clear nod to the future, given that none are over 23, but Arteta needs them to hit the ground running.

A Covid outbreak on the eve of the season, plus injuries to Gabriel and Thomas Partey, have not helped, but the manner of the defeat by City on Saturday was alarming.

When Arteta was appointed, and enjoyed success by winning the FA Cup, Arsenal were disciplined, organised and structured. The performance at the Etihad was the exact opposite.

The international break will provide some respite but, when Norwich come to town on Saturday week, Arsenal will be back in the spotlight. Amazon, like everyone else, will be waiting to see how the drama unfolds.

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