Arsenal’s players must pull out all the stops and “finish the job” if they hope to fend off rivals Manchester City and win the club’s first Premier League title since 2004, manager Mikel Arteta said ahead of Sunday’s trip to West Ham United.
The leaders’ seven-match winning run in the league allowed them to maintain their lead over second-placed City, but a 2-2 draw at Liverpool last weekend has given their pursuers a chance to ratchet up the pressure on the Londoners.
Arsenal have a six-point lead over City, but Pep Guardiola’s side have a game in hand, and the two teams are due to meet at the Etihad Stadium later this month.
Sports data company Opta are now touting City as favourites to win the Premier League this season, and when asked about it, Arteta told reporters: “If you asked them at the start of the season, it was like this so nothing has changed.
“You need luck in the right moment. That is really important and how you think about it. There is another part in sport, it’s about inches. Those inches have to go your way.
“We are where we are. We are happy where we are. We have to finish the job. In order to do that, we need that extra bit of everybody.” Arsenal next face 14th-placed West Ham, who have inched away from the relegation zone with two victories in their last three league games.
The Hammers are managed by David Moyes, who coached Arteta at Everton.
“Very difficult game. We know we have been here a few times and we find a few tricky games,” Arteta said.
“I know David well and I know how he will prepare games. It will be a big derby for us.
“(I have) more than respect (for Moyes), it’s admiration. I loved playing under him. I would go through a brick wall for him when he was my manager. Anyone would in that (Everton) squad.” On Sunday, Arsenal will be without William Saliba, who suffered a back injury last month, but Arteta said the centre back is “progressing well”, adding that forward Eddie Nketiah is available for selection.
“Hopefully we will have him (Saliba) in the next weeks. Eddie is fully back now,” Arteta said.
“He (Saliba) is not far. We need to be cautious because of the injury but he is evolving well.”