Mikel Arteta has rejected the notion that the Premier League title race is done and dusted now Manchester City are top, with the Arsenal manager robustly saying: “This is not over”.
Despite Arsenal leading the table for 247 days this term, they sit in second place for the first time since February after City beat Fulham 2-1 on Super Sunday to move one point clear of the Gunners with a game in hand.
Arsenal can move back to the summit if they beat Chelsea live on Sky Sports on Tuesday night, but City would then have the opportunity to move back in front by winning against West Ham 24 hours later.
“Now it is not in our hands,” Arteta said. “What is in our hands is to win our games. That’s what we try to do and the rest is down to City.
“I know what we’re trying to do. We have the nicest part of the season to play with five games to go. This is not over. I would pay a lot of money to be in this position next season, believe me.”
For Arsenal to win the Premier League, the Gunners realistically need to win their five remaining games and hope City slip up twice.
Asked what Arteta has seen in the last week to give him hope that City will drop the necessary points, the Arsenal manager responded: “How tough it is to win every single game.
“It’s not something that I saw in last week, if not they would have won every single Premier League game and they haven’t.”
Despite losing 4-1 to City in a title decider last week, Arsenal still secured Champions League football for the first time since 2017 – but Arteta says that, nor the idea of second place, is something the Gunners are prepared to settle for.
“Within the disappointment [of the loss to City last week] and the spirit around it, there are two things: the first one is to recognise what a lot of people have done a the club to get us back into the Champions League, which was already a difficult thing to achieve and not a lot of people were optimistic that we had the ability to do that at the start of the season.
“The second thing, and this is what I like the most, is even after achieving this with six games to go – which is something that has not happened for more than a decade at this club – we are still not satisfied, we are upset and we want more.
“We want to be the club we want to be – to be consistently with the best. That is what I’ve loved the most about the last few days.”
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