London, first published Feb 23, 2022, 6:23 p.m. IST
Ahead of Arsenal’s Premier League clash with Wolves, the north London club’s manager Mikel Arteta is preparing for a ‘roller coaster’ ride as the race to clinch a Champions League spot in next year is gaining momentum.
Five English clubs – Manchester United, West Ham, Arsenal, Wolves and Tottenham Hotspur – are separated by seven points and will be looking to seal their place in fourth place in the league. Manchester City leads with 63 points, Liverpool second with 57 points and Chelsea third with 50 points.
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The Gunners, who last played in the 2016-17 Champions League season, are desperate to qualify for Europe’s elite football competition next season. Although Mikel Arteta has admitted missing the competition, the Spaniard remains focused on the job at hand.
Speaking to the media ahead of Thursday’s game at the Emirates Stadium, Arteta said: “I think it’s going to be a bit of a rollercoaster. There are times when one team opens a gap and then (others ) are catching up. You see, the games we all have to play, and they’re extremely tricky.”
“The players know what every game means to us. We know where we are. This race is going to last until the end. There are a lot of clubs involved. You see different results than expected. Home points will be crucial,” added the Arsenal boss.
The 39-year-old, who took charge of the north London club in 2019 after helping Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City for three years, also spoke about recent reports that Arsenal were considering extending his contract. Arteta’s current deal only expires at the end of next season.
“I’m really happy here. My goal is just to build a winning team with the club, a team that people like to watch, that they identify with,” said the Spaniard.
The Gunners will face Wolves for the second time this month after the December game was postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Arsenal beat them 1-0 on February 10, but Bruno Lage’s side have won five in their last six league matches.
Arteta said of Wolves, who have the second-best defensive record in the division, “The job the manager and the coaching staff are doing is exceptional. They have a very clear way of playing. They have a competitive team. It’s really difficult to beat them, and it will be tough on Thursday.”
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Last updated Feb 23, 2022 6:23 PM IST