Arteta: We have to believe we can be champions

16 May 2024

Arsenal boss on his reaction to Son's miss v Man City and his optimism that his team can claim the title

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Mikel Arteta has revealed that he and his family were like thousands of other Arsenal fans when Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min had the chance to put the Gunners in control of the title race against Manchester City on Tuesday, but despite the South Korean’s failure, he remains optimistic of his side becoming champions.

Son was through on goal in the 86th minute and had he found the net and the scores stayed level, it would have meant Arsenal remained top of the table going into the final day.

Instead, City substitute goalkeeper Stefan Ortega stopped Son and the champions went on to win 2-0 and be in control of the title race, meaning Arsenal have to beat Everton on the final day and hope that the league leaders slip up at home to West Ham United.

“My kids [were] running around the table and going like this [putting his head in his hands],” Arteta said of that moment on Tuesday. “You can imagine. That is magic as well, to have the opportunity to be living it, next to your family and next to your colleagues. Being part of that.

“If I had to pick a player in the Premier League for that moment, it probably would be him [Son]. Michael Jordan explained it many times, how many times he had the winning shot.‌ It was always him. Sometimes yes, sometimes he did not manage to do it. This is the beauty of sport, as well. What can you do?

“The hope was there and it didn’t happen. Now we have to do our job which is going to be tough because Everton are in a good moment.

“It’s one of the biggest weeks for sure for many of us. Certainly now is the most important moment. Can’t wait for Sunday to be in front of us. Very optimistic for the possible outcome.

‌“So we have to prove again that we can be better than the opponent and win the game. We have to wish for the best and wish for West Ham to have a really good day and help us to fulfil our dream.”

As to whether he remains optimistic about becoming the first team since Arsenal in 1988/89 to come from behind to be crowned champions on the final day, Arteta remained bullish, citing that the Premier League Trophy and medals will be in the stadium for the first time for presentation in the event that they claim a first title in 20 years.

“We are in the last day of the season playing for the Premier League,” he said. “The Premier League Trophy hasn’t been at the Emirates yet and it was built almost 20 years ago.

‌“That’s a long, long time. We have to be very optimistic. The trophy is going to be there and it’s possible we have to do our duties and then we wait and see what happens.

‌“If I don’t believe today then imagine how much I could believe in August. Then from August with 38 games against Man City, with what they’ve done in the last 12 or 13 years and what we’ve done in the last 20 years in the Premier League, we have zero chance then.

‌“We can’t start like this. We have to believe that’s for sure.”

Title race

Position Pos Club Played Pl GD Points Pts
1 Man City MCI 38 +62 91
2 Arsenal ARS 38 +62 89
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