Mikel Arteta believes Manchester City are arguably the best team in Premier League history and has praised Arsenal for going ‘toe to toe’ with the league leaders this season.
Arsenal have impressed this season to challenge for the Premier League title, but a run of two wins from their last seven league games has seen the Gunners’ lead at the top overhauled.
Title rivals Manchester City can win the Premier League with a win against Chelsea this weekend and are chasing a historic treble after reaching the FA Cup and Champions League finals.
Arteta believes City’s performances suggest Pep Guardiola’s side are arguably the best team in Premier League history and has praised Arsenal for pushing the treble-chasers close this season.
“I said arguably that they are [the best team in Premier League history] with where they are competing in their competition and what they’ve done in the Champions League semi-final,” Arteta said at his pre-match press conference ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Nottingham Forest.
“But as well it shows the level of this league – that team has the capacity to get 105 or 110 points. They haven’t done it this season because of the level of the league. We’ve been there with them, toe to toe, for 10 months.”
Arteta was asked whether his side can challenge for the title again next season after an encouraging campaign of progress in north London, but suggested improvements would be required to mount another bid to be crowned champions.
“We have shown this season, and we are still there with two games to go. We can still be champions, against probably the best team in the history of the Premier League, for 10 months and we are still there with two games to go.
“We’re not going to bottle that, that’s for sure. What happens next season will depend a lot on what we do, how we evolve and how we start. That prediction is very difficult to make today.”
The Spaniard discussed whether Arsenal would use the ‘pain’ of their disappointment as motivation for next season and said it is important his side use the lessons of this season to ‘become better’.
“I don’t know what pain – it depends on what the pain is. There are lots of moments to be extremely pleased with what we’ve done. Let’s see where we finish in the next two games. Pain is part of football – when you don’t win, when you don’t perform at your level, it has to hurt. It has to hurt the right way and you have to use that pain to become better and to find answers and solutions that can help you win more. This is what we’re trying to do every single day.”
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