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Arsenal may need perfect run-in to win title: Arteta

Second-placed Gunners are just two points behind Liverpool

- AFP London

Mikel Arteta said yesterday that Arsenal may have to win all of their nine remaining Premier League games if they are to be crowned champions as he prepares for the “most beautiful part of the season”.

The second-placed Gunners are two points behind leaders Liverpool ahead of a busy April schedule following Sunday’s gritty goalless draw at title rivals Manchester City. Arteta, who is also preparing Arsenal for a Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich, urged his side to embrace the challenge, starting with today’s game at home to relegation­threatened Luton.

“It’s going to have to be really close to that,” he told a pre-match press conference when asked if Arsenal need a 100 percent record from now on to finish top of the table. “When you see the level and the consistenc­y of the other teams and historical­ly what is needed to win in this league, it’s not going to be very far from that.”

The Spaniard added: “This is where we want to be and now we want to take this opportunit­y and make it happen. We worked every single day with that enthusiasm and passion to make it happen and enjoying the moment as well. I see the team really flowing and they are really excited about playing each game and that has to drive this energy until the end. I am full of energy and it’s the most beautiful part of the season.”

Arsenal’s fixture against Luton is the first of eight matches this month, including the two clashes with Bayern. Although they will be huge favourites to beat Luton, they needed an injury-time winner to leave Kenilworth Road with a dramatic 4-3 victory in early December.

Asked about his memories of that game, Arteta said: “Especially how tough it was to win there, how difficult they have made it for every team...They deserve more credit than any other team in this league, how they’ve done it, what they transmit as a team and what they generated and it’s going to be a really tough match.”

Arteta 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 said. “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.”

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. 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.”

 ?? ?? Arsenal defenders Gabriel MagalhAes (left) and William Saliba at training session yesterday.
Arsenal defenders Gabriel MagalhAes (left) and William Saliba at training session yesterday.

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