Bukayo Saka sends title-race message after Arsenal bounceback brings fresh ‘confidence’
Bukayo Saka insists Arsenal are ready to pounce on any late slip-ups by Manchester City in the title race after their impressive 2-0 victory at Newcastle.
The Gunners narrowed the gap on the Premier League leaders to just one point on Sunday and although City have a game in hand, Saka is adamant Arsenal will not throw in the towel after back-to-back wins last week.
Mikel Arteta’s side have just three games to go, starting at home to Brighton on Sunday, and will finish with a club-record 90 points if they win all those matches.
“We are going to fight to the end,” said Saka. “I am really confident, of course, in the team [to keep this momentum going]. We had a tough last month, but we are back with two wins on the spin.
“We are going to give everything in these last three games and see where that leaves us at the end.
“It was a really high-intensity game [at Newcastle]. We really gave everything from minute one to 96, because we needed to.”
After Sunday’s match at Emirates Stadium, the Gunners travel to Nottingham Forest before finishing the season at home to Wolves.
City go to Everton on Sunday, kicking off two-and-a-half hours before Arsenal, and then host Chelsea a week later. After that, they face trips to Brighton and Brentford in the space of five days.
Pep Guardiola’s side are chasing the treble, with the first leg of their Champions League semi-final at Real Madrid tonight, and they face Manchester United in the FA Cup final next month.
“We will be going as hard as we can for three games,” said Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.
“It is not in our hands at the minute, but we will be pushing every step of the way and hopefully, if they slip up, we will be there to pick up the pieces. We will be looking on from the wings.”
The Gunners followed up their win over Chelsea by defeating Newcastle to banish their bad memories from defeat at St James’ Park last season. A 2-0 loss in the penultimate game of the campaign led to Tottenham pipping the Gunners to Champions League qualification on the final day.
Asked if Sunday’s win showed how far Arsenal have come, Saka said: “Yeah, I think it does.
“Last year we were challenging for something different, it was the Champions League. We are here this year and we’ve already qualified, so you can say that we’ve progressed as a team.
“Newcastle are in great form, especially at home, so I’m really proud we came here and won.”
Arteta revealed after the victory that he showed his squad footage from last season’s defeat as motivation before the game.
The manager says it helped fuel his players with a desire for revenge and he will hope that momentum carries over into the final stages of the season.
“If you want to be involved in elite sport, you have to embrace those moments,” said Arteta.
“There’s no giving up. I saw a lot of people after the City game almost turning back. I hate that, I’m not going to accept that from anybody, from the team, any members of staff.
“We have to keep going because you never know. We have to keep digging — we’ve done it for 10 months, now is the moment to do it even harder than before.”