Mikel Arteta says he loves the growing bond between his players and the Arsenal supporters and believes the atmosphere generated at Emirates Stadium, and by those who follow the club around the country, is going to play a fundamental role in the push for a top-four finish.
Currently sixth in the Premier League rankings with three games in hand on the two sides above us (Manchester United and West Ham) the Gunners are well-placed to end a five-year exile from the Champions League.
It’s a situation few could have predicted after opening the campaign with three straight defeats so the boss is rightly pleased by the collective effort that’s gone into steadying the ship.
“We have earned the right to be where we are right now,” said Arteta ahead of Saturday’s clash with Brentford.
“Credit to the players, credit to the club and everybody, especially our supporters, because we talk about the club needing support, but I think it’s very important how our fans reacted and how they understood the necessity to stand behind these young players.
“The mentality has been incredible and that’s what we need, that every time we play in front of them and when we play away that we feel their support because we become a much better team.
“Now we have earned the right to be there and now we need to go game by game to maximise the position that we’re in, and that’s what we’re going to be trying to do.”
He added: “I do notice [the difference in the support] and I love it. It has to be one of our biggest pillars in this project and in what we’re trying to achieve, and I have no question about that.
“I have mentioned that since when they weren’t allowed to come to the stadiums, but the most important thing is that the players feel it and when the players feel it and they play with a level of emotion, they can transmit it and that’s the reason why they’re right behind them because they are feeling something happening. I think they are giving genuine support to the players.”
There’s no hiding from the fact the final three months of the season are going to be very tense with every one of the remaining 16 games set to be a cup final.
“We go game by game,” noted Arteta. “We have to win tomorrow and then we will be closer to that objective.
“It’s true that we have some games in hand and there’s still a long way to go and a lot of things are going to happen, a lot of turnarounds and we have to be ready to play within the context that this is going to happen because there are a lot of teams involved there.”