Mikel Arteta says he takes great pleasure seeing Arsenal top of the table and has urged his players to carry the confidence gained from a 3-1 win over Sp*rs into matches against the rest of the big six.
The Gunners haven’t qualified for the Champions League since finishing runners-up behind Leicester in 2015/16 but a run of seven wins from our opening eight games at the start of the new campaign suggests we’re strong contenders to finally end their exile from Europe’s top table.
There’s a long way to go and big matches lie ahead, but the boss is feeling positive after a thumping result in the north London derby.
“One hundred percent needed,” said the Spaniard in his post-game press conference when asked if Arsenal needed a win over a big team.
“Because when you play such a big game, you want to win, and those opinions are correct because when you look at the stats and if you just put it in that context, you can do it. It’s how you give and receive information, it does affect you.
“For me the message is for the players, and everybody here that is connected to the club, that we are able to play at this level, against this kind of opponent. That should give them confidence and belief.”
It’s not guaranteed that Arsenal will be top when Liverpool visit the Emirates next weekend – Manchester City could take six points before then – but we’re in the mix and that’s what matters.
“It’s great always looking at it and seeing the club where it is, in this position,” said Arteta.
“It’s great, it gives you a great feeling obviously. But we are focused. It is a really hungry and humble team, believe me.
“We know where we are. There is nothing that we have done yet, and there are still a lot of things to improve, and that’s the direction that we are taking.”
While the main ambition for the season is to finish in the top four, the longer the Gunners keep winning, the more talk of a title tilt develops.
For the moment, Arteta is happy to let others do the talking.
“I’ll leave that to you guys, honestly. We are just at the start, and we are really happy with where we are, and understanding that you cannot control [everything]. Because emotion is related, and the table says what it says, but it is not something that we look at.”