Arteta on the mood in the camp ahead of City clash

Mikel Arteta claps the supporters at Emirates Stadium

As we head into the momentous final six games of the Premier League season, Mikel Arteta has reflected on our squad's strong mentality. 

With pressure mounting as we seek to maintain our advantage at the top of the table and the small matter of a trip to Manchester City next on the agenda, our team's shared belief will be more vital than ever to ensure success. 

“Mentality plays a huge part,” said Mikel. “Obviously, the belief is there. When I look at how they train, how they reacted after that [result against Southampton], the mood in the dressing room, the way they defended each other in each moment - we really want it.

“We’re going to show that again tomorrow night, but then you have to deliver in the right moment, the right performance and it has to be perfect because that’s what these last levels demand. It’s absolute perfection in every single ball.”

Our Gunners already have two players who know exactly what it’s like to lift the Premier League trophy. Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko won the league title four times as members of Pep Guardiola's Man City side and their lived experience will be vital to draw upon in the home stretch. 

“I think experience is key when you’ve been in those moments, to handle those moments and to understand the importance of certain things when you are competing in a football match.

“The capacity to transmit as [Jesus and Zinchenko] have done for the rest of the team is very, very important. They’ve done it in a very natural way. Two or three weeks [after they joined], because of where they’ve been, they said ‘We can win this league’.

"So it’s not something we have only just started to feel. It’s been going on since August - it’s not something that now you rely on. This process has been coming for a long time.”

After three successive draws in the league compared to City's impressive form at home and in Europe, the narrative of the title race continues to evolve rapidly. Mikel reiterated that the team was drowning out the noise. 

“We’ve been doing that for the last nine or ten months. We focus on what we can do and we don’t get dragged in - whether it is extremely positive or extremely negative."

When asked if we still believe we can fend off Manchester City to become league winners, our boss was unequivocal. 

“One hundred per cent. We knew from the beginning that City was the team to beat, probably alongside Liverpool, because of what those teams have done in the last six or seven years. They’ve fully deserved that credit and to be at the top.

“We were the ones that wanted to be closing that gap as much as we possibly could, and we are toe-to-toe with them. We knew we had to go to the Etihad, we know that after that they are going to have another five very difficult games.

“That game is going to be really important. But is it going to define the season? No. If we win tomorrow night, we haven’t won the league.”

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