LONDON – Mikel Arteta insists he “can’t wait” to face Manchester City and said he believes Arsenal need to win at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday to clinch the Premier League title.
The Gunners came from two goals down in a 3-3 draw with bottom side Southampton on Friday but gave second-placed City another advantage, who are now five points adrift but have two games in hand.
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Carlos Alcaraz capitalized on a terrible error by Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale to score after 27 seconds before former Gunners striker Theo Walcott put Southampton’s lead in the 14th minute.
Gabriel Martinelli halved the deficit but substitute Duje Caleta-Car nodded off after 66 minutes, before Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka scored in the last three minutes of regular time to set up a grandstand finish.
However, Arsenal have been unable to find a winner and will travel to Manchester in a bid to secure City’s first win since January 2015.
“I can’t wait, these are the games you want to play,” Arteta told BBC Sport. “When everything is at stake, you have to go there to win. The game will be ready for that, that’s for sure.
“The beauty of this sport is that you want to be in those positions. We’re going to have an incredible journey to Manchester and we’re preparing really well.”
Arteta dismissed claims Arsenal have been struggling for confidence but admitted their defense needs to improve.
“I don’t see a lack of confidence,” he said. “Usually when a team does that, players hide. I’ve played there and players hide at certain moments. I haven’t seen a single player do that. They were all willing to take risks and initiative. That’s why we came back from 3-1 to 3-3 and should have won the game.
“The confidence is there. It’s just those moments. At this level, you can’t give away the goals we’ve scored. It’s that simple.”
“Today it’s clear. You can’t concede like we did to win Premier League games unless we pull off a miracle like we did in the last 40 or 50 minutes and then you still have a chance to win it.”