Next few games could define Arsenal's season, says Arteta

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Europa League - Round of 32 First Leg - Benfica v Arsenal

(Reuters) - Arsenal have little margin for error in their pursuit of a European spot and their upcoming fixtures present an opportunity to bridge the gap to the Premier League's top six sides, manager Mikel Arteta has said.

Only six points separate 10th-placed Arsenal from Liverpool, who are sixth.

Arteta's side host leaders Manchester City on Sunday before playing third-placed Leicester City, with games against Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United and champions Liverpool also lined up.

"It could define our season if we are unable to close the gaps to them, but it can create momentum for us if we can get closer to them," Arteta told reporters.

"We know the margin for error is minimal with the season that we have had in previous months, so we need to kick on."

Arteta said his side were embracing the challenge of facing Pep Guardiola's City, who head into Sunday's clash on a 17-match winning streak.

"I think they are the best team in Europe at the moment," he said. "The way they're performing, the football they're playing and their consistent results.

"What they've done is react to difficult moments. A big team has to be able to do that. When everyone was doubting their ability to be able to compete again, they reacted in a really convincing way.

"They have weaknesses like every team but at the moment teams have struggled a lot to find any of them... We have a big and a very exciting challenge ahead of us on Sunday."

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)