fbpx Skip to main content

Mikel Arteta insists he would have accepted Arsenal’s position in the Premier League title race heading into the final two weeks of the season had he been offered it at the start of the campaign – even though the destination of the trophy is not in their hands.

The Gunners sit top of the table heading into the penultimate weekend of the season and face a trip to out-of-sorts Manchester United on Sunday before hosting Everton on the final day.

However, they could win both of those games and still not end a 20-year wait for a league title as Manchester City will usurp them if they win all of the three fixtures they have left to play.

Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions go to Fulham in Saturday’s early kick-off before travelling to face Arsenal’s north London rivals Tottenham and then taking on West Ham at home next weekend.

Leandro Trossard celebrates scoring in the win over Bournemouth that kept Arsenal top of the league
Leandro Trossard celebrates scoring in the win over Bournemouth that kept Arsenal top of the league. (Adam Davy/PA)

Despite being slight underdogs, Arteta is pleased with where his team sit at this stage.

“I would take the pen and sign it,” the Spaniard replied when asked if he would have taken Arsenal’s current position before a ball had been kicked this season.

“My brain tells me when talking to the players that we are lifting the Premier League. That’s what my brain is doing at the moment and I want to follow my brain and my gut.

“This is the way I want everybody to think as well. Hopefully we can achieve it.”

Arsenal led the way for much of last season before being caught and past by a City side en route to winning the treble.

The standard required to best City – who are aiming for an unprecedented fourth successive league title – is high – with Arteta “inspired” by the quality of a team he worked for as assistant coach before taking the main job at Arsenal.

Asked if the fact departing Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp leaves with just one Premier League title despite building such a fine team at Anfield proved the level of the challenge, Arteta added: “Yes.

“That and the history of City is that before that they were winning trophies. They’ve been on a great journey in the last 10 or 15 years.

“We want to change that and we will try to do everything we can to improve. We are on a journey to try and catch them and be better than them, which is the aim.

“It is an inspiration to have this level of opposition. That’s what makes you better when you have someone challenging you to be better and better.”

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag will be under pressure when his side face Arsenal
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag will be under pressure when his side face Arsenal. (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Arsenal head to Old Trafford to face a United team in disarray following a 4-0 thrashing at Crystal Palace on Monday night.

The Red Devils sit eighth in the table and the future of manager Erik ten Hag is uncertain – but Arteta is still expecting a tough challenge on Sunday afternoon.

“Obviously, the difficulty is still there,” he said.

“The quality, the manager… it brings a lot of challenges. We’ve been in very difficult scenarios this season and we’ve done well. Hopefully we can do the same on Sunday.”