Mikel Arteta says he now has “more belief” that his side can win the title, despite their 3-1 defeat by Manchester City at Emirates Stadium.
Manchester City went top of the Premier League after defensive errors from Arsenal cost them all three points, though Arsenal could go back in front if they win their game in hand on the current champions.
After beating Manchester United on 22 January, Arsenal were five points clear with a game in hand, but have taken just one point from nine since.
Nevertheless, the Spaniard believed that the moments where Arsenal had the away side on the back foot is a reason to feel the challengers can prosper in the title run-in to come.
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“Disappointment because we lost it, I think it was an incredible battle between two teams, and when we had them, we gave them the goals.
“On the other hand we had three big chances and didn’t put them away.
“To beat them you have to be over our level because they are such a good team, we had them in big moments.
In individual moments they were better than us.
“The second half as well, we had periods where we were really precise, but we had moments where we put ourselves in trouble, the way we gave the goals away.”
Discussing City’s tactical change in the second half, he said:
“I saw that they were man-to-man, a little bit higher up on the press, but we didn’t really understand when to play in certain areas.
“It was really good if you take away that you gave Manchester City goals. They are the best team in the world.
“I have more belief because I see a team that went head to head with them. I have more belief in my players.”
Arsenal midfielder Martin Odegaard echoed that his side needed to be “more clinical” with only one of their 10 attempted shots on target.
“We were not sharp enough, in front of the goal and in our own as well.
Sometimes chances go in, sometimes not. But that is where we need to improve and be more clinical and defend our box.”
“As we have said all season, work hard and take it game by game.
It is the same now. It is one game we have lost here today and now we look to the next one.”