This is not over – Mikel Arteta says Arsenal can still win Premier League title

This is not over – Mikel Arteta says Arsenal can still win Premier League title

Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal are still gunning for the Premier League title as he praised his squad for refusing to settle for Champions League qualification.

Having topped the table for much of the season, Arsenal slipped from the summit following Manchester City’s 2-1 win at Fulham on Sunday afternoon.

City have now won eight successive league games, including a 4-1 humbling of the Gunners last week which put a fifth title in six years in their own hands.

Conversely, Arsenal have taken just three points from their last four fixtures but their form over the course of the campaign has at least guaranteed a return to Champions League football after six seasons away from Europe’s top table.

While City are now favourites, Arteta will be aiming for a return to form when struggling Chelsea visit the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night as he refused to rule Arsenal out of the hunt.

“We have achieved what it was difficult to achieve and we can still achieve the Premier league because there are five games to go and a lot of things are going to happen still,” he said.

“Now the title race is not in our hands anymore. What is in our hands is to try to win the games we have left and the rest is down to City.

“What we have to do is forget about what happened last week, learn from it and move on to the next game with a full tilt at home, with our people, London derby, and put things right.

Arsenal and Manchester City clash
Arsenal were well beaten at the Etihad last week (Martin Rickett/PA)

“I know what we were trying to do, what the objective was what we’ve been doing and we still have the nicest part of the season to play with five games to go. But when I still look at it, this is not over.

“I am incredibly proud and thankful to everyone who has contributed to bringing Champions League football back to this club with five or six games to go, it is something that hasn’t happened in over a decade in this football club.

“So congratulations but also thank you for still being upset and not accepting that Champions League is not enough and we want more because this squad is going to demand to get what we want.”

Victory over Chelsea would take Arsenal back to the top of the table for at least 24 hours having led the pack for 247 nights so far this season.

The Blues, having spent a reported £600million on players in the last two transfer windows, are on a run of eight games without a win and have Frank Lampard as interim boss following the sacking of Graham Potter in April.

Arteta, though, believes Chelsea’s plight is proof a club needs more than just a huge transfer budget to be successful.

“In our model we have very important things,” he said.

“First of all, is to have the right people and I think we have the right people. Then we have the right players who can compete, they can challenge, they can understand their role within the team.

“You need quality, goal threat, physicality, you need a lot of things in this game and that is extremely difficult to find that thin balance with the players.

“Recruiting is just…you have the best intention but then the player has to come here, has to fit in, has to get that chemistry with the manager, the team-mates, the staff, the country.

“It is not easy at all so credit to everybody who makes those decisions as well.

“They have exceptional talent. If they make that work, they can do anything because they have the players, they have the infrastructure they have the history to do it.”