After a two-week break, Premier League football returns to our screens on Saturday.
For Arsenal, the October international break has been quite rewarding with those not called up benefiting from extra training sessions – that also featured a certain Jack Wilshere – at London Colney.
Meanwhile, Emile Smith Rowe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe should all report back this week high on confidence after scoring for their respective nations on Monday.
Overall, Gunners manager Mikel Arteta won’t have had too many complaints about the international break that can often serve as a disruption especially with his side on a good run of form.
The task for the Spaniard now is to ensure Arsenal return to winning ways when they host Crystal Palace and go on a run that lifts his side into the top half of the Premier League table ahead of the November window.
Following a 0-0 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion prior to the international break, the north London outfit sit 11th by virtue of an inferior goal difference to Aston Villa.
With that said, they are just four points off a Champions League spot having been tipped by Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher to be a surprise contender for a top-four spot this season.
“I can’t see anyone else breaking through [into the top four as things stand],” he told The Telegraph. “The team that I think is worth watching closely as the season evolves is Arsenal.
“If they can get the consistency into their young side, the lack of European football can be a massive help for Mikel Arteta as he spends more time with his players on the training ground.
“I think it is too soon for them to qualify for the Champions League, but of the chasing pack they may prove themselves best equipped to challenge.”
Arsenal will be hopeful of competing in European competition once again next season. (Image: Richard Juilliart – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)
Whilst a top-four finish would represent a major overachievement for Arsenal, they are well within the race to ensure European football returns to the Emirates Stadium next season.
Whether it be the Europa League or the Europa Conference League.
Not being in Europe this season is one long-term advantage the Gunners have over Leicester City, West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur in the race for a top-seven finish.