Mikel Arteta says that the Gunners must keep battling as they look to secure third place and automatic qualification for next season’s Champions League.
For a time this season it looked as if even fourth might be a step too far, but Arsenal have overturned a 10 point deficit on T*ttenham and could turn that into a 5 point lead tonight with a win over Wolves.
But despite the euphoria of a win over title-chasing Man City, Arteta knows that any drop in performance tonight could be costly, as the recent defeat to QPR shows.
“We have some good examples this year when we have dropped points against teams near the bottom,” he said.
“We have to go there with the right mentality and the right approach and sense of pride. When you’re playing away from home there are no easy games in the Premier League.
“We’ve put in a big effort, we are in a strong position now and we don’t want to waste it. We had a setback at QPR and it says a lot for our spirit that we came straight back.”
The Spaniard knows that much can change, even in six games, and has urged his teammates to keep up the battling mentality which has seen us take 24 points from the last 27.
“It will be a big fight and I think it will go right until the end. There are some big games ahead. Everyone must play each other; we’ve got Chelsea here and have got to go to Stoke so it can change again.”
Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger has praised the former Everton man for his influence this season, saying he’s getting the recognition he deserves and the goal against City was just reward for the way he plays.
“He likes the game we play, he respects the game,” said the boss. “I believe as well that one of the qualities he has that is not always appreciated at its right level is the focus. He has consistent focus from the first to the last minute to win, and that takes advantage of every mistake the opponent can make.
“His goal typifies that because he wins the ball as well and scores behind that, because he has a good concentration level.”
While some took some time to be convinced that Arteta was the right man when he signed in late, late August, surely there cannot be an Arsenal fan who fails to see how his consistent contribution has been invaluable this season.