Arsenal still believe in title hopes, insists Mikel Arteta after Gunners return to victory against Chelsea

Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal can still win the Premier League after returning to the top of the table with a convincing win over Chelsea, despite Man City’s games in hand.

The Gunners jumped back to the summit courtesy of a first win in five games to beat their troubled London rivals, but they will be leapfrogged again by Manchester City on Wednesday should they beat West Ham live on Sky Sports.

The title race is out of the North Londoners’ control at this point but Arteta told Sky Sports after a much-needed win that they still believe they can lift the Premier League trophy for the first time since 2004.

“We have four games to go, we are top of the league, it was one of the things we talked about tonight – can we go back and go where we’ve been for many months and now we have to wait and see, we know it’s not in our hands,” he said.

“We’re going to try to [take it all the way] against Newcastle, we have another tough match, but we’ll be preparing to win.”

Former captain Granit Xhaka, who has enjoyed as bright a renaissance as anyone under Arteta’s management, laid on a hat-trick of assists for the Gunners’ three goals, while player of the match Martin Odegaard, who scored twice against the Blues, told Sky Sports they were confident the title race was still alive with four games to go.

“The first 60 minutes we had a very good game. We deserve the three points today. We needed a reaction and the team, with the fans, had a good reaction,” Xhaka said.

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Granit Xhaka gives his reaction to his impressive performance against Chelsea in the Premier League.

“We didn’t have our best day against Man City, they were the best team last week. But we still have belief.”

Odegaard added: “Especially the first helped was brilliant. We showed a different spirit to last time. The second half was a bit messy but we needed this one.

“Everyone was so hurt after the City game but we used that anger to bounce back. You can lose games but we weren’t ourselves. I think we showed a different side today.

“We have to keep going. We will fight until the end for the title.”

Arteta made three changes to the Arsenal team who lost to City with the aim of shoring up his side’s defences, and though they did concede to a second-half consolation from Noni Madueke, he saw a vastly improved performance over 90 minutes from his side.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Arsenal against Chelsea in the Premier League.

When asked what had pleased him most about the victory, he told Sky Sports: “That we were us. That’s what I demanded. I wanted to see that energy, that determination, that fluidity, that movement, that purpose in our play.

“That was there from the beginning. That led to connecting with our crowd and obviously you know what happens when we are able to do that. The goals were really helpful because they set the tone for the rest of the game.

“We knew that if we dominated them and got in the final third then they were going to have issues. In the last 30 minutes we allowed them to run and, with the players they have, in transition moments you are going to have problems. “

Arteta singled out centre-back Jakub Kiwior, making his first Premier League start since a January move from Spezia, for seizing his opportunity after three months without a look-in on the Arsenal starting line-up.

The Polish international slotted straight into defense in place of the under-fire Rob Holding and helped restrict Chelsea to a handful of half-chances aside from Madueke’s second-half goal.

Jakub Kiwior impressed on his full league debut
Jakub Kiwior impressed on his full league debut

“It was a big task for him,” Arteta said. “We threw him in against big players but we believed he was ready. His partnership with [Gabriel] worked out really well. [Jorginho] gave us a bit of control and leadership in midfield. I’m very pleased with you.”

Vieira: So much progress in Arsenal dressing room

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Former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira clashes with ex-Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink over Arsenal’s title experience, with the Frenchman likening the club’s current season to Leicester’s triumph.

Former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira told Sky Sports the Gunners players’ would still be dreaming of winning the Premier League in spite of their recent run of poor form opening the door to Man City, but felt that their progress had been noteworthy wherever the trophy ends up this summer.

“I don’t want to find any excuses, but City are five, 10 years above Arsenal from the way they’ve been building the team. The season is so long, and what will make you win the title in the end is experience,” he said.

“When you are in that period of the season, you expect your top players to perform and they didn’t really do it. At the same time, you have to look at where Arsenal were last year, and where they are today.

“There’s progress in that dressing room and of course, the players will want to win the title. But we know that you’re going to go through difficult periods in the season.

“Arteta made a couple of changes today that made a really big impact on the game. He’s made some really tough decisions in the season, there were big questions marks about letting Aubameyang and Lacazette leave, and he’s built a team to perform the way that he sees the game. That’s something really special.

“You’re not successful in the Premier League without going into the details about what you want from players. It’s about the football club, him working with Edu and having a good vision of what they want to achieve.

“The profile of players they want, the style they want to play, and when you have this kind of clarity, it allows you to work. This is a dream for every manager, to have a really clear idea of ​​what you want and responsibility when you recruit players, how do you want to develop those players.”