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Arteta gives Arsenal fans green light to dream of title as he shares dressing room experience after Brighton win

MIKEL ARTETA has given Arsenal fans the green light to start dreaming of a first League title since the 2004 Invincibles.

Victory at home to third-placed Newcastle tonight will take the Gunners ten points clear at the top of the table for at least 48 hours.

Mikel Arteta has insisted his players are impressing with their performances
Arsenal are seven points clear at the top of the Premier League table

It will also pile huge pressure on closest rivals Manchester City to win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Thursday evening just to keep the title race alive.

Yet while Arteta is relishing the mounting excitement swirling around the Emirates, he is also wary of his players getting ahead of themselves with more than half of the season still to play.

Only four teams in Premier League history have ever managed more than Arsenal’s current total of 43 points from 16 games – and they all went on to win the title.

And a win against Newcastle this evening will effectively make it a two-horse race to the finishing line.

Arteta insists: “The way we are performing is obviously impressive and we are really happy with that.

“It’s not about stopping anyone’s expectations. It’s about remaining realistic with where we are.

“When I was in the dressing room after the win at Brighton on Saturday, I saw joy and happiness because the players were really excited after a big win.

“But they were also moderate in their celebrations because they understand that we still have a lot of things to improve as a team.


“So what we have to do is set our objectives in the short-term  and focus on what it is that is making us win this many matches.”

Perfectionist Arteta was not impressed with the way his team lost control of Saturday’s 4-2 win at the Amex Stadium after Ben White, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Thomas Partey came off in the final 15 minutes.

It highlighted the lack of options available to him which has forced him to pick virtually the same team every week in the Premier League.

Seven players have started every League game this season and Martin Odegaard has missed just one match.

And though the World Cup break gave some of his stars the opportunity to recharge their batteries, Arteta is aware of the physical demands being made of his young team.

That is why he is so keen to take full advantage of the January transfer window to bring in a couple of top class reinforcements to maintain the blistering pace they are setting at the top of the table.

The club are still locked in negotiations with Shakhtar Donetsk for Ukrainian international winger Mykhailo Mudryk, who has made it crystal clear that he is desperate to join this month.

But Shakhtar are driving a hard bargain for the promising 21-year-old and have already rejected Arsenal’s £52.5million opening bid.

Arteta is leaving that one to sporting director Edu to sort out because he has enough on his plate taking care of a Newcastle team unbeaten in their last 14 games.

And he is convinced the recent run is no flash in the pan for a club who are now serious players since being taken over by the Saudis last season.

He says: “When you look at Newcastle’s numbers and what Eddie Howe has done in that short period of time, it’s incredible. Big credit to him and his coaching staff.

“They have created a belief and a momentum around the team which allows them to play the same way against any opponent.

“Newcastle is a huge club with a big history in this country. But now they have a proper set-up with a coach that has brought something different to the club.

“They have created an atmosphere and big ambitions and obviously they have owners who are able to build the team quickly and compete with the best teams. So they are a real threat.”

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