Arteta believes Norwich will beat Spurs to hand Arsenal fourth spot

 

Arsenal's Spanish manager Mikel Arteta reacts during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Arsenal at the London Stadium, in London on May 1, 2022.


Mikel Arteta says he is growing in belief that Norwich could yet do Arsenal a huge favour against Tottenham on the final day of the season, believing it is still “very possible” that his side will be playing Champions League football next season.

Arteta cut a despondent figure at St. James’ Park on Monday night, following a 2-0 defeat to Newcastle that saw his side surrender the initiative in the top-four race.

The Gunners need to win against Everton at the Emirates on Sunday and hope already relegated Norwich can beat Spurs at Carrow Road in order to usurp their north London rivals.

“[It is] very possible and looking back, I have been back a few years and I’ve seen examples of teams playing in the last game of the season and things happening,” Arteta said. “The closer the game is, [the more] I am hopeful.”

Arsenal’s chances of at least keeping up their end of the bargain by beating Everton may well have been boosted after the Toffees secured their own Premier League survival with a remarkable comeback from 2-0 down to beat Crystal Palace 3-2 on Thursday night.

Arteta said he had been watching his former club in that game, with the dramatic nature of Everton’s unlikely fightback giving him further belief that Norwich could similarly defy the odds when they host Spurs on Sunday.

"I was watching yesterday and that gives me more encouragement about what could happen on the last day at Norwich because this happens only in this league,” he added.

"It's what makes this league such an incredible league because in many other countries when there is nothing to play for you don't see those kind of performances. We are hoping something special can happen.”

Even a fifth-placed finish would represent significant progress for the Gunners, who finished eighth in each of the past two seasons, and have enjoyed a season of progress under Arteta, not only in terms of results but also in uniting a club and fanbase that has often appeared divided since the latter part of Arsene Wenger’s reign.

But while the Spaniard is aware of those signs of development, he reiterated his stance that the long-term aim is not merely to return the Gunners to the Champions League, but to the top of English football.

"It is [progress] because we have created expectations that this club deserves and this club has to have but in the last two matches we haven’t been able to fulfil those expectations,” he added. 

“Overall looking back at where we were, you have to be clear as well with what we had to do and we are clear this is not where we want to be. We want to be in a completely different position, challenging the top teams and that is the aim.

This is not going to stop here, there is another step but this was very much necessary. Not only about where we are in the league table, we had much deeper issues at the club than the league table in my opinion that now have been resolved and now they look very strong and we have real strong foundations to build what we want to do.”

 

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