William Saliba rallies Arsenal for Manchester United revenge mission in title race statement

William Saliba rallies Arsenal for Manchester United revenge mission in title race statement

William Saliba insists Arsenal are not feeling any pressure in the title race after they beat Tottenham to go eight points clear at the top of the table.

Arsenal produced a commanding display to beat Spurs 2-0 in the north London derby and are now undeniably favourites to win their first title since 2004.

Saliba is adamant the Gunners can handle being frontrunners and is targeting a revenge mission against Manchester United on Sunday to strengthen their grip at the top.

Arsenal suffered a controversial 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford last September and know victory against Erik ten Hag’s side could be another significant step towards the title.

United, who beat Manchester City 2-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday, can go six points behind Arsenal if they win at Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

But Saliba insists the leaders are relishing the opportunity ahead of them.

“There’s no pressure because we play for that,” said the defender. “It’s better to have this pressure when you are at the top than when you are down at the bottom. It’s better to keep going like this and we don’t have to have pressure.

“We are focused on ourselves. We are not focused on our rivals. We have to keep going like this and stay focused only on our ourselves.

“It’s never enough. We know we have a lot of games to go. We have to be focused because things can change quickly.”

An own goal by Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and a fine strike from Martin Odegaard gave Arsenal their first win at Spurs since 2014, when Gunners boss Mikel Arteta was still a player.

 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Victory banished painful memories of last season, when the Gunners were beaten 3-0 by Spurs and then missed out on Champions League qualification.

“We knew it was a long time since we won here, so we wanted to win here and keep a clean sheet,” said Saliba.

“We are so happy because the derby is a big game, and it was an away game, too. We prepared all week for this, and we are so happy to finish like that.”

Arsenal face a defining run of games in the coming weeks, starting at home to Manchester United on Sunday and ending with a clash against Manchester City on February 15.

The Gunners lost 2-1 at Old Trafford earlier on in the season when they had a first-half Gabriel Martinelli goal controversially ruled out by VAR. And Saliba says Arsenal want to avenge their only Premier League defeat of the season.

They are the only team to beat us and we want to beat them again at home.

“We know we have a big game this week. We know they beat us,” said Saliba.

“They are the only team to beat us this season in the Premier League and we want to beat them again at home. We will prepare very good for this game I think, and I hope we will win in front of our fans.”

Arsenal’s remarkable form has taken many by surprise this season but Saliba, who returned in the summer from a loan at Marseille, suspected the squad could compete for the title.

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal- Arsenal celebrate win over North London rivals

Martin Odegaard, Gabriel and Granit Xhaka celebrate Arsenal’s win after the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Martin Odegaard, Gabriel and Granit Xhaka celebrate Arsenal’s win after the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Arsenal defender Gabriel celebrates after the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on January 15 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Arsenal defender Gabriel celebrates after the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on January 15 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - Premier League - Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (PA)
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - Premier League - Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (PA)
Ben White of Arsenal gestures the 0-2 scoreline to fans during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on January 15 (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I)
Ben White of Arsenal gestures the 0-2 scoreline to fans during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on January 15 (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I)
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(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal FC - Premier League (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal FC - Premier League (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal FC - Premier League (Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal FC - Premier League (Getty Images)

“After the summer, when I saw the team and the mentality, I tell myself: ‘Yeah, we can do something this season’,” he said.

Saliba has been one of Arsenal’s star performers this season, starting every Premier League game, and the club are working to extend his contract beyond the summer of 2024.

“I am so happy here,” he said. “The club is speaking with my agent and me, the only thing I can do is [focus on my football]. I am so happy here.”