Arsenal will face the toughest test of their season so far when they come up against bitter rivals Tottenham at the Emirates on Sunday.
Spurs travel to face their neighbours with a superior Premier League position, having been revitalised by new manager Ange Postecoglou.
Both north London clubs have taken 13 points from their opening five matches but it is arguably Spurs who have impressed more, with Postecoglou’s side adapting well to life after Harry Kane.
That is not to say Arsenal have been sluggish at the start of the new campaign. While some predicted the Gunners might struggle following the heartbreak of last season, Mikel Arteta’s side again look like challenging for honours after being boosted by their summer signings.
Arsenal head into this weekend’s game having recorded consecutive wins over Manchester United, their bogey away team Everton, and PSV – who they thrashed 4-0 on their return to the Champions League on Wednesday night.
It was Bukayo Saka’s debut in the competition and the England international did not disappoint, opening the scoring after just eight minutes to help set up a comfortable win.
Speaking earlier this month, Arsenal legend Ray Parlour said he was impressed by the professional of the 22-year-old following a trip to visit London Colney.
“He’s a massive player for both Arsenal and England,” Parlour said on talkSPORT.
“He never gets injured and he is always fit to play. He’s a real grounded young man who is always smiling. He’s been an absolute revelation. It’s the little things. I went to the training ground not so long ago and every single player had a day off. But he was in.
“He just said ‘I want to do a little bit more warm down and get my legs going’. He was on a bike, he didn’t have to be there. That’s the sort of professional he is to say ‘I want to go in and look after myself’ and that’s why he plays every week.
“He’s just a fine young man. I think every person likes him – even if you’re a neutral and you don’t even like Arsenal, I think most people take to people like Saka because he’s always smiling and doing the best he can, whether it’s for Arsenal or England, he always wants to put a performance in.”
Fortunately for both Arsenal and England, Saka shows no signs of complacency and is continually searching for ways to improve his game.
That constant strive for perfection is a trait commonly shared by players at the top of the game, including five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo. In his final season at Manchester United, Ronaldo criticised the work ethic of some of his teammates and questioned why younger players did not have the same attitude as him.
“I say we have a long way to improve because, for me, the most important thing is the mentality. To look at yourself and say, ‘I can do better’,” Ronaldo told the Daily Mail.
“For you to be professional, help the team, the right mentality, self-taught and positive. All these details depend on you, not the coaches, the fans or the press. If you are proud of yourself and you have dignity, you have to do it much more.”
Former United assistant manager Mike Phelan spoke about Ronaldo’s attitude earlier this month.
“The second time around, he came in a lot older and a lot more opinionated, strong-willed,” Phelan said. “He still had massively high standards and was terrific to work with. But I’d probably say a tougher mindset.
“He had been at Man United, he had been Portugal’s ever-present, he had been at [Real] Madrid. I liked it because he didn’t want his standards to drop, he wanted other people’s standards to come up. And sometimes you lose a few people along the way when that happens.
“I remember certain times when he pushed and pushed hard, and he didn’t get much reaction or much response. And there was frustration. When you deal with top, top people, it’s about them and where they can finish and where they can get to.”
Like Ronaldo, Saka has shown he has not only the talent but the work ethic and desire to achieve all his aims in football – starting with a win over Tottenham this weekend.