Arsenal need to put ego aside to win league title – Arteta

Mikel Arteta has said he believes Arsenal may need to “leave their ego aside” to win the Premier League title.

Arsenal adopted a more disciplined and defensive approach to secure a 0-0 draw at Manchester City on Sunday to stay firmly in the hunt for their first championship since 2004.

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Occupying second place and two points behind leaders Liverpool, Arsenal host Luton Town at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday before travelling to Brighton this weekend, the first in a series of tricky away games in a run-that includes Wolves, Tottenham and Manchester United.

Asked if Arsenal’s performance at City, in which they registered 27% possession and six shots, was a sign of their evolution, Arteta said: “You have to, sometimes because you want to adapt, sometimes you because you have to adapt and have that resilience.

“Leave your ego aside and your ideology aside and do what you have to do to win the game. I thought the team was mentally really strong and clever the way they did it.”

Arteta is considering rotating his squad for Luton’s visit which begins a run of seven games in 21 days.

Arsenal are hopeful Bukayo Saka will be fit after limping off against City while Emile Smith Rowe, Fabio Vieira, Eddie Nketiah and several others will be aiming to imitate Reiss Nelson’s dramatic contribution off the bench last March, when he scored a 97th-minute winner to secure a dramatic comeback victory against Bournemouth.

“Our obligation and our duty is to be prepared to play any minute in any moment,” Arteta said. “Look at the example of Reiss. His best moment for Arsenal, it’s a moment where he played a few minutes and made a huge impact and it’s one of the best days in his life as an Arsenal player.

“Nobody remembers if he started or if it was off the bench. There are a lot of examples in world sport where players made the impact. Sometimes you just need a second to change the history of a football club. You don’t need 100 minutes to play football.”

Arteta also claimed Jurriën Timber has a “good chance” of playing again this season after suffering an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury 50 minutes into his Premier League debut last August.

“I don’t know a percentage but he’s got a good chance [of playing again this season] and he’s going to push it as far as he can,” Arteta said. “He’s doing very well. He’s back training. He’s not far off, the thing is that last step, he hasn’t played any minutes.

“Does he need a game with the under-21s? Does he need two games? He’s constantly training with us to see how long that’s going to take him in that last part which is tricky and sometimes takes a while. Hopefully [he’s back] as quick as possible.”