Mikel Arteta: Arsenal have’made good steps’ regardless of how the title battle ends
Regardless of how their final two Premier League games play out, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta believes his team has “made strong steps” this season.
On Saturday, Arsenal go to relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest, knowing that failure would hand the title to Manchester City.
On December 26, Arteta’s side led by seven points, but they are now four points behind City.
“We have built that core and foundation,” Arteta remarked.
“There’s a lot of quality, a lot of youth, a lot of enthusiasm, but they’re also surrounded by a lot of good people with the right experience and leadership.”
“We must continue to do so because the demands, expectations, and challenges will be even greater next season.”
Between the start of the season and February, Arsenal lost just once in the league, creating a commanding lead at the top of the table.
In April, however, three successive draws against Liverpool, West Ham, and Southampton were followed by a 4-1 defeat at Manchester City.
The Gunners won again on May 7 against high-flying Newcastle, but were defeated 3-0 at home by Brighton last weekend as Guardiola’s side extended their advantage over their championship rivals.
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City have played one fewer game than Arsenal, therefore a defeat at Forest on Saturday would cement Guardiola’s club as champions before they face Chelsea on Sunday.
A draw would keep Arteta’s club mathematically in the race – they might end level on points with City, but City has a considerably superior goal difference.
When asked if Arsenal’s season has been “painful,” Arteta replied, “It depends on what the pain is.”
“There are many reasons to be extremely pleased with what we’ve accomplished.” Let’s see how we do in the following two games.
“Pain is a part of football; when you don’t win or perform at your best, it has to hurt.”
“It has to hurt in the right way, and you have to use that pain to improve and find answers and solutions that will help you win more.”