Mikel Arteta plays down Arsenal’s title hopes despite seven-point lead at New Year


Arsenal have played down their chances of winning the Premier League, despite finishing 2022 seven points ahead at the top of the table. The Gunners extended their lead over Manchester City with a 4-2 win at Brighton on New Year’s Eve.

But Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said his side have room for improvement following a wobble when leading 3-0. He said the gap at the top of the table “means nothing” if Arsenal slip up, and “our only focus is again to improve”. Arsenal have not won the Premier League since 2004, but just after Arteta’s third anniversary as manager they are in pole position to win what would be the club’s 14th league title.

Going into the last Premier League fixture of 2022, Arsenal were buoyed in the knowledge City had been held 1-1 by Everton earlier in the day. “We knew the result, but the boost is we have to come here and win, and to do that we have to perform at the highest level in this league,” Arteta told BBC Sport. “We had to have a big performance to win against a really good Brighton side. We had to dig in as well.” Arteta said his side still had “a lot of things to improve” – especially defensively.

Arsenal and City have played 16 games each so far this season. At the same stage in 2021-22, the Gunners trailed City by 12 points. “It sounds amazing,” forward Bukayo Saka told Sky Sports about their position. “At the start of the season if you asked us if we wanted this, we would bite your hand off.

“We are really happy.”


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