Mikel Arteta’s primary job is to restore Arsenal’s identity, according to defender Calum Chambers.
Former Gunners midfielder Arteta officially takes up his role as manager on Sunday, succeeding Unai Emery with the club in the bottom half of the Premier League table.
Arteta was in the directors’ box for Saturday’s goalless draw with Everton on Saturday, which laid bare the deficiencies in the current Arsenal side.
Well played, @CalumChambers95 👊
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 21, 2019
Chambers said: “We just need to get our identity back. I know he wants to do that. It will take time but I know he can get that out of us.
“We’re all excited to work with him, that’s the main feeling around the camp. He came in (on Friday) and said some words, said some more before the game. We all showed good spirit.
“He said that we put into play what he wanted from us. The message before the game was be brave, take responsibility and work hard for each other. We did that on the pitch.
“He said afterwards it’s a good start and there’s things to work on. He was proud of the way we worked and how we worked hard.”
Chambers is one of the only current Arsenal players who was at the club when Arteta made his final appearance in 2016.
Asked if he thought then that the 37-year-old would be a good manager, Chambers said: “For sure. When I came here he was one of the senior players, he helped me and gave me advice on positional play.
“He was a very intelligent player, you could always tell he had that side to him. I’m excited, everyone’s excited to work with him and learn his philosophy.”
The main positive on Saturday was Arsenal’s defensive solidity. Everton did not have a single effort on target and the clean sheet was the Gunners’ first since a 1-0 victory over Bournemouth on October 6.
Despite the game being widely derided by pundits and fans, Chambers believes it can be a positive stepping stone, particularly given the youthful make-up of the side.
“It’s a good feeling,” he said. “I feel we deserved a clean sheet, everybody worked really hard as a team.
“Obviously we’re a bit disappointed we didn’t get the win but there’s a lot of good things to come out of that game. I know we’ll be working hard on the training pitch but it’s a good building block for us.
“I’m really proud of how much effort (the young players) put in. They’ve been working hard all season and it showed. It’s promising for the future when you have a lot of young players like that. Good times ahead.”