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Mikel Arteta encouraged by top-four talk as Arsenal chase Liverpool scalp

Mikel Arteta encouraged by top-four talk as Arsenal chase Liverpool scalp
The Gunners can replace Liverpool in the top four with victory at Anfield on Sunday.

Mikel Arteta believes talk of Arsenal finishing in the top four of the Premier League this season is “positive”.

The Gunners resume action after the international break lying fifth in the table after embarking on an impressive eight-match unbeaten league run following their 5-0 thrashing at Manchester City in August.

Arsenal travel to Liverpool on Saturday just two points behind Jurgen Klopp’s side and a win would move them into the top four.

“For me this (talk of Arsenal being in the top four) is positive,” Arteta said.

“It means there is excitement and they want to push us. This club is about being the best, not even about being fourth.

“So that mentality and drive is because of our history. That history has to be present all the time, trying to achieve the biggest targets.

“If not, you don’t have the mentality to play for this club. That’s the demands.

“Whether we can achieve it or not, we will see what we can do. But the level of expectation has to always be the highest.”

Arsenal have not finished in the top four since Leicester’s title-winning 2015-16 season when the Gunners claimed the runners-up spot under Arsene Wenger.

On the Liverpool game itself, the manager added: “The standards that we have in this club, the ambition every day is to win this game and it doesn’t matter who you play you have to prepare the game to win it and that’s what we’re going to do, to go to Anfield and get the result.”

Since Arteta took over in 2019, the club have yet to finish in the top six, and missed out on all European football this season after a disappointing eighth-placed finish last tern.

However, the Spaniard believes he is seeing a “big change” at the club.

“It (changing the energy at the club) was obviously one of the main things for me because when I took the job there were a lot of difficulties in that sense,” Arteta said.

“We had one thing bigger that we never expected – that our stadium would remain empty for the next 18 months. So that intention became impossible to achieve.

“But now I really see a big change and the impact that has on the team and the performances of the players is huge. And we can see that every time we play at the Emirates and away from home because of the support we are getting. That increases the level of our team.”