Defiant Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta: We will win the Premier League

Mikel Arteta on going to the next level: “You have to be more determined, you have to be more ambitious, you have to have a lot of courage and push every limit. That’s the next step. If we do what we have to do, we’re going to be closer and at the end we’ll win it.”

Any chances of last-day jeopardy appeared minimal from the outset, but were reduced even further when City scored twice early on before Idrissa Gueye’s deflected free-kick in the 40th minute put the visitors ahead at the Emirates.

Takehiro Tomiyasu levelled three minutes later, which was around the time West Ham reduced the deficit at the Etihad, but there would be no dramatic twist.

A tap-in by Kai Havertz with a minute left did at least ensure the Gunners ended a brilliant season on 89 points to show further signs of progress under their Spanish coach, who is determined to help his squad go one better next season.

“First of all congrats to Manchester City for winning the Premier League,” Arteta said.

“Today some mixed emotions. First of all, to be really proud of the staff and those players. They’ve done an incredible job and they have pushed every limit and every margin that we could to try to win this Premier League

He added: “They (City) took it away from us. It’s the second season.

“There’s only one way to do it – you have to be more determined, you have to be more ambitious, you have to have a lot of courage and push every limit in everything that we have. That’s the next step.

“If we do what we have to do, we’re going to be closer and at the end we’ll win it. When? I don’t know, but if we keep knocking and being that close, in the end it will happen.”

Odegaard: We’ve changed the club

Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard, speaking to the fans from the pitch after beating Everton:

“I think we’re all a little bit disappointed. We’ve been fighting so long for the big dream. We were so close. I’m so proud of the boys, so proud of the team the fans. I’m so proud of the progress we are making.

“We’ve changed the club and I think you all believe in us now.”

‘The margins are so small’

Martin Odegaard shows concern during Arsenal's Premier League clash with Everton
Image:Martin Odegaard shows concern during Arsenal’s Premier League clash with Everton

Arsenal had been close to perfect in the league since the turn of the year with this a 16th victory from 18 games in 2024.

One of the two fixtures where they dropped points was a goalless draw at the Etihad, which proved decisive as Pep Guardiola’s side clinched the title by two points, but Arteta pinpointed the 2-0 loss to Aston Villa last month as more crucial.

He also referenced the late miss by Tottenham captain Heung-Min Son in their midweek defeat to City.

Arteta added: “For sure, Aston Villa at home. In the first half it should have been 4-0. Maybe the story would have been different.

“What happened last Tuesday, maybe we could have been champions.

“These are the margins that are so, so, so small. That’s the credit that the club and the team should take. We’re doing this against the best team in the history of the Premier League by far.”

‘I know the level we need to get to’

Martin Odegaard cuts a dejected figure as Arsenal fall short in the Premier League title race
Image:Martin Odegaard cuts a dejected figure as Arsenal fall short in the Premier League title race

Asked if it might take 100 points to win the title, former City assistant Arteta admitted: “Yeah. But I was there when we did 100 points (in 2017-18) so I know what it takes. I know what happened and this is the level.

“No-one has to explain what the level is because I was there four years every day and I know what we have to do if we are going to reach there. Not only for one season, but for the rest.

“We are on the right path, the right journey and to see the evolution so quickly happening, I haven’t seen it before.

“So we’re on the right trajectory and now we need to really pull the teeth and bite into it because we really want more.”

Havertz: Our best wasn’t enough but we’ll be back

Arsenal forward Kai Havertz:

“What can I say? I feel sorry for all the Arsenal fans. We gave our best but it wasn’t enough.

“Maybe in two or three months we can say it was a good fight. Right now I feel like we deserve more. It wasn’t enough in the end but we go again next year.

“We showed great character again, they didn’t make it easy for us. They took time with every throw and every ball. In my opinion it’s sometimes not fair in football but we have to accept that football is hard. Hopefully we can go again next year and give Arsenal fans what they need and what they’re all here for.”

On his message to the fans: “Right now I can’t even think. It’s just so frustrating. It’s tough. I can tell them next year that we’re going to be an even better team and we’re going to give everything again. That’s all I can say.”

Arsenal here to stay under Arteta

Mikel Arteta relays instructions during the game against Everton
Image:Mikel Arteta relays instructions during the game against Everton

Analysis from Sky Sports’ Nick Wright at Emirates Stadium:

“The mood was one of dejection at the Emirates Stadium after the final whistle against Everton, the 2-1 win proving in vain for Arsenal as Manchester City emerged as champions again.

“But there was defiance, too, particularly from Mikel Arteta, who told supporters on the pitch afterwards that Arsenal’s time will come. There was also appreciation, from players to fans, with captain Martin Odegaard thanking them for their belief, and the other way around.

“Manchester City remain tantalisingly out of reach for now, claiming the prize by a two-point margin, but Arteta’s words are not empty promises. The potential of this team is obvious.

“The manager has overseen progress in every season since his appointment in 2019. Arsenal, a mess of a team and a club in a state of drift when he arrived, are now firmly at home among the elite, edging ever closer to the type of silverware they have long craved.

“Another second-placed finish is a painful outcome but they have done all this with the third-youngest team in the Premier League. None of their most important players, from William Saliba and Declan Rice to Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard and Kai Havertz, is older than 26. Their peak years are ahead of them. So are Arsenal’s.”

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