LONDON: Arsenal may have handed Manchester City a huge advantage going into a decisive weekend in the Premier League title race but they will keep their wits about them in the final two games despite their slim chances, manager Mikel Arteta said on Friday (May 19).
City are on 85 points and have a four-point lead with a game in hand over Arsenal, who must win at Nottingham Forest on Saturday to realistically stay in the title race at least until Pep Guardiola’s side face Chelsea a day later.
“Two games to go and we can still be champions against arguably the best team in the history of the Premier League. We are still there and we’re not going to bottle that, that’s for sure,” Arteta told reporters.
“It shows the level of this league. That team (City) has the capacity to win 105 to 110 points. They haven’t done that this season because of the level of the league and we’ve been there toe-to-toe for 10 months.”
Arteta said Arsenal’s 3-0 home loss to Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend was a difficult pill to swallow but he looked to gain perspective on what his young squad had achieved this season.
“We discussed in the following days about where we are, what we’ve done, the remaining two games – what the possibilities are, what is in our hands and what we can deliver,” he added.
“We want to continue to be at the level that we’ve been for 10 months … We can’t lose sight of what happened in moments where we weren’t at our best or at the level required to be champions and we have to acknowledge that.
“But obviously the team, the players, the club deserve huge credit for how far we’ve come in the season. There are still two very important games to play.”
Arteta said his side will be without the injured Gabriel Martinelli and Oleksandr Zinchenko for the rest of the season.
Martinelli was taken off against Brighton with an ankle injury after a mistimed tackle from Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo.
“Gabi has a pretty nasty injury. We need to asses in the next week how long he will be out for but it will be a few weeks,” Arteta said.
“With Alex it’s a calf issue and he won’t be able to play the next few games.”