Mikel Arteta says Arsenal will need “luck in the right moments” if they are going to finish as Premier League champions above rampant Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola’s team, who host struggling Leicester on Saturday, could close the gap at the top of the table to just three points before leaders Arsenal kick off at West Ham the following day.
The Gunners squandered a 2-0 lead at Liverpool at Anfield last week to draw 2-2, with City now favourites to be crowned champions for the fifth time in six years.
“You need luck in the right moments,” Arteta said at his pre-match press conference on Friday.
“It’s another part of this sport — sometimes it’s about inches and those inches need to go your way.”
Arteta’s men can focus entirely on chasing their first Premier League title since 2004, while City also have an FA Cup semi-final next week against Sheffield United and one foot in the last four of the Champions League.
Arsenal and City meet at the Etihad Stadium on April 26 in a pivotal moment in the title race.
Asked if he envisioned fighting for the title at the start of the season, Arteta said “yes”.
“You go day by day,” he said. “There is so much that happens every single day, every month at a football club.
“The aim when I took the job was to bring the club back to where it belongs, fighting for and being around every single trophy that it is possible (to win) at the highest level. That’s what we are trying to do.”
He added: “We are happy with where we are. Now we have to finish the job and demand an extra bit from everybody.”
Arteta admitted goal difference could be a key factor in the title race — the Gunners have a goal difference of plus 43, compared with City’s plus 48.
“We think about every possibility,” he said. “Obviously, we want to win matches first and earn the right to win them, and then we want to score as many goals as possible, but we have to be open to everything and any possibility.”
Arsenal will again be without William Saliba against West Ham as the France defender continues to recover from a back problem, but forward Eddie Nketiah is available for selection.