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Arteta ‘allows’ Arsenal stars to dream of first EPL title in 18 years

MIKEL Arteta has given his Arsenal players the license to start believing that they can win the Premier League title again.

The Gunners last won the league in 2004 when they went unbeaten throughout the campaign, but they are on top of the table currently and playing attractive football.

They extended their lead at the top of the pile to seven points last night after a comeback 3-1 win over West Ham at the Emirates Stadium, with Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah scoring to cancel out Said Benrahma’s opener.

When he was asked if he had allowed the players to dream about the title, Arteta said they could start imagining every possibility.

“They are allowed to do everything they want!” he told his post-match press conference.

“What I tell them is that we have to focus on us, we cannot control what the opponents are going to do, how good they’re going to become, or how many points they’re going to earn or drop.

“So, we have to focus on our performance, on what we do every day and what has brought us here, which is not a coincidence, so we just need to keep doing what we’re doing.”

The Gunners have dropped only five points from a possible 45 in a remarkable run, and Arteta praised the character of his side in coming from behind to score three second-half goals.

“Yeah, for sure – really happy with their performance first of all, and then the results,” the Spaniard noted.

“And really the context of the game was that they were a goal up after a situation, a very single situation that they had attacked an open space where the referee decided to award their penalty. And then you see the reaction of this crowd generating belief and just giving a lot of energy to the team.

“And the team showed, I think, in my opinion, a lot of composure, some real quality, as well as a lot of clarity to understand what the game demanded, and they executed really well.”

The man who led Arsenal to that memorable title 18 years ago, Arsene Wenger, was in the Emirates Stadium crowd last night.

Arteta was happy his former boss was in the building to enjoy such a pleasant night.

“The players didn’t know and we wanted to keep it quiet and allow that space for Arsene here,” he explained.

“And it was a really special day – thank you so much to him for coming. Hopefully, walking through the building, he’s going to feel everything that everybody thinks of him, everything that he left here.

“His presence is something that has to be very attached to this football club. So thank you for doing that because it means a lot to everybody in the club. I’m gonna go now to speak to him – hopefully he’ll be waiting for us in the dressing room.”

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