Arteta confirms Arsenal star will return vs West Ham; admits Man City are title favourites

Jason Soutar
Mikel Arteta during a match

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta agrees that Manchester City are the favourites to win the Premier League and have been since the beginning of the season.

The Gunners sit six points above the reigning champions after Sunday’s dramatic 2-2 draw at Liverpool.

City will be able to close that gap when they host Leicester on Saturday, with Arsenal making the short trip to face West Ham a day later.

Arsenal fans hope to see William Saliba return to action before the end of the season with the French international currently out with a back injury.

Arteta has confirmed that he will not return against the Hammers, but says he is “evolving well”

The Gunners are boosted by the return of Eddie Nketiah, who is ready to play this weekend and is likely to start on the bench.

Arteta’s side face City in a potential title decider later this month with the race to be champions expected to go down to the final day of the season.

“You need luck in the title race,” the Spanish manager said. “That luck and what you think is going to happen.

“Sometimes it’s about inches and they have to go your way.

“We want our players to be as fit as possible and available. We’ve had some issues in the past few months.”

On the percentage stats being in City’s favour to win the title, Arteta said: “When you asked them at the start of the season, it was like this. So nothing has changed.”

Arteta also said that he has not asked former City players Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus for advice ahead of the run-in.

He said: “No, the boys that have won it have brought something difficult to the team. They know that you have to earn the chance to be there. Now that they are there they have to do it.”

Arsenal raced into a two-goal lead at Anfield before drawing 2-2 and Arteta has hinted that his side did not manage the Anfield atmosphere as well as he hoped they would.

“After the game it’s easy to say stop happening,” he said. “We didn’t manage to get out of that game well enough and that’s why you suffer.”

Sunday’s match against West Ham sees Arteta going head-to-head with his former Everton manager David Moyes, who he “would go through a brick wall for”.

“I think more than respect it’s admiration,” the Spaniard said. “I would go through a brick wall for him when he was my manager.

“He’s a really good coach, exceptional at managing individuals and a man who honours his word. Someone that I learnt a lot from.”

Asked what he learned from Moyes during his playing days, Arteta replied: “Some things I didn’t know. He asked me to play in positions I never played in my life. The way he challenged me.”

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