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Saturday April 13, 2024

Arsenal on track and energised for run-in, says Arteta

By REUTERS
April 03, 2024
Arsenals Spanish manager Mikel Arteta. — AFP/File
Arsenal's Spanish manager Mikel Arteta. — AFP/File

LONDON: Arsenal are full of energy and excited about every game in their Premier League title chase as they approach the run-in, manager Mikel Arteta said on Tuesday, ahead of his side’s match with Luton Town.

Arsenal were knocked off the top of the Premier League by Liverpool at the weekend after a 0-0 draw with title rivals Manchester City but can return to the summit with victory over relegation threatened Luton on Wednesday.

They have a busy schedule ahead, with a trip to Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday followed three days later by the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich.

It will be the first time they have played in the knockout stage of Europe’s top-tier competition under Arteta, who said the success of Arsenal’s women’s team, who won League Cup final against Chelsea on Sunday, was a source of pride in their own pursuit of silverware.

“We are on track as a club. What the women’s team did at the weekend makes us so proud and it’s so important as well,” Arteta told a news conference on Tuesday. “There are a lot of good things happening, but we need to aim for much more than that... This is where we want to be. Now we want to take this opportunity and make it happen.”

Second-placed Arsenal have a tough run-in in their bid for a first league title since 2004, with matches still to come against rivals Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Aston Villa and Manchester United, but the Spaniard is optimistic.

“We work every single day with the enthusiasm and passion to make it happen and are enjoying the moment. I see the team flowing and they are really excited about playing each game. That’s what has to drive this journey until the end,” the former Arsenal captain added.

“I’m very excited, I’m full of energy and it’s a beautiful part of the season. It is very different and I wasn’t in this position when I was a player (for Arsenal).” The manager confirmed that forward Bukayo Saka was “fine” after he was forced off the pitch against Manchester City on Sunday and defender Jurrien Timber, a long-term injury absentee, has a “good chance” of returning before the end of the season.

When asked about the possibility of rotating his team selection, the manager said: “It is related to what they do in training as well. We will look at all these things and try and find the right team to win.”