Mikel Arteta says Arsenal’s home form will dictate our chances of securing a place in Europe this season as we look to further close the gap on the sides above.
The Gunners go into Sunday’s clash with Everton in 11th place but know three points will seem them league frog the visitors.
If results go our way, we could be as high as eighth by the end of the day, just three points off Sp*rs who are currently in pole position to take an unexpected place in the Champions League should Manchester City’s ban be upheld.
While a top four finish seems ridiculously unlikely, the carrot is still being dangled by the boss who wants a strong finish to the campaign.
As he gears up to take on his former club, Arteta was quick to play up the magnitude of the occasion.
“Absolutely [it’s a big game],” he said. “Now every game that we’re going to play is going to have a big impact on the table. And we are aware of that.
“The home form, I think, is going to be vital if we want to achieve anything at the end of the season.
“We know that we’ll have a shorter recovery [than Everton] – obviously, with the turnaround – and that’s why we need all the players available and fit and with the right mindset, because it’s going to be difficult.”
Arteta was in the stands at Goodison the last time the two sides met in December. On that occasion, interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg led us to a 0-0 draw just hours before Carlo Ancelotti took over as Toffees boss. A lot has happened for since. For a start, both sides are currently unbeaten in 2020.
“We [Mikel and Carlo] exchanged some comments on the day,” reflected Arteta.
“I didn’t know the players and I didn’t know what to expect, but I can tell you that I’m really proud to manage this football club and at the moment I’m really happy with how everybody is reacting around the club.
“The players, their input, they’re playing with energy and the passion that they’re showing every day and the same with the staff and everybody involved here.
“We have a lot of things to improve and it seems like it was eight months ago, but it was not that far away!”