Mikel Arteta is still demanding more improvements as Arsenal continue their recovery from a poor start to the season and prepare to face Crystal Palace.
The Gunners were winless in their first three Premier League games but responded by winning their next three before a draw with Brighton and Hove Albion took them to five games unbeaten in all competitions.
Initial calls for Arteta’s sacking have somewhat faded away, at least temporarily, as Arsenal look to defeat the Eagles for just the second time in seven top-flight meetings between the pair.
Arteta, who was named September’s Premier League Manager of the Month, has been impressed in the upturn in form but still wants more from his side as the domestic season returns.
“We managed to turn things around a little bit [during the previous international break] but there is still a big margin for improvement,” Arteta told reporters at Thursday’s pre-match news conference.
“But we got important results that were very needed in that moment and we just need to think about doing things better, progressing up the table and focus on winning our next match.
“It is the opportunity that this game gives you and you have to stand up, keep believing, work hard, be critical and analyse things to try to change them and improve them. Football always gives you another opportunity.
“When you’re in a good moment, you want to carry on playing as quickly as possible. When the confidence is there, and the momentum is there, you want to continue, but again, we knew that we had to stop after that game.
“[We knew] that we had to get as many points as possible, and we did well enough to do that and be in a different position than a month ago, and now we have to just improve it.”
Arsenal have mustered just five goals from their opening seven league games – their fewest at this stage since 1986-87 – and Arteta implored his side to improve their finishing.
“It is certainly something we can do better and improve in our efficiency in front of goal, and when we get that balance right it will obviously help us to win more game,” he continued.
Patrick Vieira, who made 279 Premier League appearances for Arsenal, returns to his former club with Palace – becoming just the fourth man to play for the Gunners and manage against them in the competition.
Arteta – aware of Vieira’s legendary status, with only five players appearing more in the league for the north London club – expects a warm welcome for the former France midfielder from the Emirates Stadium crowd.
“He is an Arsenal legend and I hope he gets the reception he deserves for what he did for the club, not only as a player but also what he transmitted as a person,” he added.
“He was a captain of the club in the most successful era in the last many years and it is great to have him back.”