Mikel Arteta has opened up on Arsenal’s improved belief this season as the north Londoners chase major trophies.
Arsenal have enjoyed the best start to a league season in the club’s history and lead the Premier League title race, having become just the fifth team to reach 50+ points at the halfway stage of a campaign.
The Gunners have not finished in the Premier League’s top four since the 2015/16 season, but have shown huge improvement this term to mount an unexpected title challenge.
Arteta’s side also remain in pursuit of the FA Cup and Europa League and face Manchester City in the fourth round of the former competition on Friday evening.
Ahead of a huge clash, Arteta opened up on how he has created a winning mentality at the Emirates this season.
“I think the key word would be belief – not only our belief but the staff believe, the players believe and the atmosphere that we have created with our people in the stadium,” he told his pre-match press conference.
“You could sense that even when we were 1-0 down [against Man Utd] that we could still go on and win it. We manage the emotion in the game in a much better way than we used to. We are playing better than before and we are earning the right to win the games, and then football, as we all know, is very unpredictable.”
Arteta was asked whether Arsenal are ‘more united’ than at any point since his took charge in 2019 and admitted the club are enjoying a fine period.
“I wouldn’t like to compare how it was in the past but I would say I am extremely proud and privileged to be in this moment at the football club. I think we are all feeling the energy and empowerment between everybody that is contributing to getting the club where it belongs.”
Tonight’s cup clash with City will be the first meeting between the teams this season and Arteta was asked whether the three fixtures with Pep Guardiola’s side could define his side’s season. City are currently second in the Premier League table, five points behind Arsenal having played a game more.
“It would because on Friday if we’re able to win we’ll go through to the next round and they won’t, and if they beat us that will be the opposite.
“Obviously, it is a competition that is really important for us and is attached to our club and our history, and I would define that as a moment for sure.”
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