Mikel Arteta explains why Arsenal’s Premier League title bid unravelled
Mikel Arteta has admitted a drop in form and injuries to key players ultimately derailed Arsenal’s Premier League title challenge against Manchester City.
The Gunners enjoyed a wonderful start to the campaign as they went into the World Cup break five points clear in first having played 14 games, being top of the table at Christmas for the first time since 2007/08.
However, key players such as Gabriel Jesus, William Saliba and Oleksandr Zinchenko all missed chunks of the season when top flight football resumed due to injuries and Man City’s juggernaut form saw the Gunners end the season five points off Pep Guardiola’s treble winners.
Consecutive draws with Liverpool, West Ham and Southampton before a defeat to City took the gas out of Arsenal’s surge and Arteta pointed to that run of results as a contributing factor to coming second.
He told Marca: “The achievement was to win it. This is Arsenal and the standards are high. To this day, it still hurts me deep inside not to have won the Premier League after ten months of fighting with City. But that’s sport. Having said that, what we achieved with such a young team is to be applauded. That’s clear to me as well.
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“A lot of things. We were penalised by those three draws we had in a row and all the misfortunes that happened. There were three or four injuries to important players and from then on, everything got complicated.
“When we had the full team, we were consistent. As soon as problems came, it wasn’t enough for us. And then our opponent was the best team in the world, the best squad in the world, the best coach in the world. We had no choice but to accept it and shake hands with the champion.
“In many moments. The team gave me arguments and we had a connection with the people. People believed in it. But when we started to get injuries, I felt it was going to cost us. The level of demand could not be maintained. If you want to win the Premier League against City, you have to get to April-May with all players available and at their best. And we, because of injuries, didn’t get there.”
No new signings have officially arrived at the Emirates but a deal worth £65m has been agreed for Chelsea’s Kai Havertz, while Arsenal are also confident of reaching an agreement with Ajax for former Manchester United target Jurrien Timber.
On this edition of The Chronicles of a Gooner, part of the 90min podcast network, Harry Symeou discusses Arsenal’s hopes of signing Declan Rice ahead of Manchester City, the latest on deals for Jurrien Timber and Kai Havertz, Thomas Partey’s potential departure and more!
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