London: Mikel Arteta has insisted Arsenal are still contenders for the Premier League title despite slipping from the top of the table at the weekend.
Arteta’s men were replaced at the summit by Manchester City following the champions’ 2-1 win at Fulham on Sunday.
City now lead the Gunners by a point, with a game in hand, after winning eight successive league matches as they eye a fifth title in six years.
Stumbling in recent weeks
Arsenal, by contrast, have stumbled in recent weeks, taking just three points from their last four fixtures.
They are at least assured of a return to Champions League football after a six-season absence from Europe’s leading club competition, but Arteta stressed the Gunners’ squad were not satisfied with that achievement alone.
Arteta now wants Arsenal, beaten 4-1 by City last week, to stage a revival when they face London rivals Chelsea at the Emirates on Tuesday.
Move on to next game
“We have achieved what it was difficult to achieve and we can still achieve the Premier League because there are five games to go and a lot of things are going to happen still,” he said.
“Now the title race is not in our hands anymore. What is in our hands is to try to win the games we have left and the rest is down to City.
“What we have to do is forget about what happened last week, learn from it and move on to the next game with a full tilt at home, with our people, London derby, and put things right.”
The Spaniard added: “We still have the nicest part of the season to play with five games to go. But when I still look at it, this is not over.
“I am incredibly proud and thankful to everyone who has contributed to bringing Champions League football back to this club with five or six games to go, it is something that hasn’t happened in over a decade in this football club.
“So congratulations but also thank you for still being upset and not accepting that Champions League is not enough and we want more because this squad is going to demand to get what we want.”