Mikel Arteta has outlined Arsenal’s initial plans for their end of season break as the players are likely to have ‘less than three weeks’ holiday.
Having reached the FA Cup final, the Gunners will have 42 days between their last game of the 2019/20 season today [August 1] and the start of the 2020/21 campaign on September 12.
With such a quick turnaround, players won’t be afforded as much time to recover in the off-season as usual and Arteta admitted restrictions could be put on where they travel, if they choose to do so.
“We’re going to have less than three weeks I think, which is the minimum we can ask after the effort that the players and staff have done in order to continue and give us a chance to get back playing football. We have to accommodate the calendars and fixtures and it’s the only way we can do it,” he said.
“It’s something we are addressing with the Premier League as well [travel restrictions]. What we can do, what we cannot do and we need to get to a common sense situation in order to provide what we need, to value what the players have done and as well, to be a little bit flexible.
“We live probably in the most protected environment that any industry has in the country with the amount of tests, precautions and protocols that we have in place.
“It affects everything, that’s why we are having conversations with the Premier League and the government in order to do the right thing.”
Before these plans can be fully formed, however, Arsenal will have the FA Cup to compete for, in circumstances unlike any prior to this year.
Usually, the fixture is paired with an overwhelming surge of supporters walking down Wembley Way, each half of the stadium draped in the club’s respective colours and a open-topped bus parade the following day for the winner.
Without fans, none of these aspects of the day will be possible which Arteta feels will give his players an experience that isn’t truly representative of a real FA Cup final/
“Yes, it’s a shame that there might be players that experience the FA Cup final once,” he added.
“So to experience it that way is not a fair judgement of what it is and what it should feel like. But it’s what it is, we have played already for a few months in these conditions, we are getting used to it and it’s a shame but it’s still a great opportunity for us to have a trophy.
“That’s a real shame. The following day after winning it, it was great.The connection with your fans, enjoying those moments together, everybody goes on holiday afterwards so the mood cannot be better.”