Mikel Arteta is confident his Arsenal players can cope with the "jungle" atmosphere Liverpool's supporters will generate at Anfield in Sunday's Premier League contest.

Arsenal have won seven Premier League games in a row to retain a healthy lead at the summit, but they have lost each of their past six top-flight visits to Liverpool.

Gunners boss Arteta was captured playing 'You'll Never Walk Alone' during training ahead of Arsenal's most recent trip to Anfield in November 2021, which resulted in a 4-0 loss.

Speaking ahead of his side's latest visit to the red half of Merseyside this weekend, Arteta explained that rather unorthodox ploy.

"You have to prepare the players, you have to tell them what they're going to be facing and you have to recognise that," he said. 

"An error and a mistake comes after an opportunity to do that and develop yourself. You have to expose yourself.

"You cannot train the players in the zoo and then go to the jungle on Sunday. It's impossible."

 

While Liverpool are struggling down in eighth place, 29 points adrift of Arsenal, they have won five of their past six home league games.

The Reds have won the past three of those games by an aggregate 11-0 scoreline and have not conceded at Anfield in their last seven hours and 26 minutes of league football.

But Arteta believes his side, who are looking to complete their first league double over Liverpool since the 2009-10 campaign, can cope with whatever is thrown at them.

"The team is full of enthusiasm and positivity," he said. "We know that we have a big challenge. 

"But it is a big opportunity to go to Anfield and do something we haven't done in many years and that is what [has been] driving the team the last few days."

Mikel Arteta has "full respect and admiration" for Jurgen Klopp and says there is no lasting grudge between the pair as Arsenal prepare to face Liverpool at Anfield.

Arsenal manager Arteta was involved in a touchline bust-up with Klopp during this corresponding fixture last season, which Liverpool went on to win 4-0.

The Gunners have come a long way since that match in November 2021 and enter Sunday's latest encounter on Merseyside 29 points better off than their opponents.

With Arsenal top of the table and on course for a first title in 19 years, Arteta sees no reason for himself and his players to lose their cool this time around.

"That's football," Arteta said of his previous falling out with Klopp. "After that, we hugged each other and moved on.

"I have full respect and admiration for what he and the coaching staff have done at Liverpool. We move on. 

"I reacted that day to defend our players in the best possible way. But I don't like seeing myself like this, so hopefully I won't do it again. We know we must [keep our composure]."

Arsenal have won seven league games on the spin to retain an eight-point lead over Manchester City, who have a game in hand and host the Gunners later this month.

Liverpool have taken just one point from their past three games, meanwhile, but they have won six of their past seven home league matches.

The Reds have not conceded in seven hours and 26 minutes of league football at Anfield, but Klopp accepts his side cannot rely on their home form alone to save their season.

"Anfield is not the only thing we should rely on, but it is no secret that the combination of our people, the ground and the boys is pretty good," he said.

"That is what we have to throw in, but not rely on it. I have a very good feeling we can [overcome Arsenal]."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Liverpool – Mohamed Salah

Klopp took the surprising decision to make six changes for the midweek 0-0 draw against Chelsea, with Salah among those to drop down to the substitutes' bench.

Salah should return this weekend, and he is in great form at Anfield, where he is looking to score in four straight league games for the first time since a run of six ended in June 2020.

Arsenal – Leandro Trossard

January recruit Trossard has made a big impact since arriving at Arsenal from Brighton and Hove Albion, scoring one goal and assisting seven in 11 appearances for the club.

He scored a hat-trick at Anfield for Brighton in October and could become the first player to score there for two separate away sides in a single Premier League season.

MATCH PREDICTION – LIVERPOOL WIN

This will be the ninth time Arsenal have faced Liverpool while top of the Premier League, with the previous eight producing 33 goals at an average of over four per game.

Arsenal won the reverse meeting with Liverpool 3-2 in October and are seeking a Premier League double in this fixture for the first time since the 2009-10 campaign.

But Liverpool have performed well on home soil and have won their past six league games against Arsenal at Anfield, scoring at least three times in each game.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Liverpool – 51.0 per cent

Arsenal – 22.6 per cent

Draw – 26.4 per cent

Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal must "embrace" the pressure as they continue their Premier League title charge with a trip to Anfield to face Liverpool on Sunday.

Arteta's men head into the weekend with an eight-point lead over second-placed Manchester City, who have a game in hand on the Gunners and take on Southampton at St Mary's Stadium on Saturday.

As they bid to hold off City and prevent Pep Guardiola's men lifting a fifth Premier League title in six seasons, Arteta suggests it is important his team relish the situation they are in and use it as fuel to get them over the line.

"We do enjoy it, we have to enjoy it," Arteta told reporters at his pre-match news conference. "We really need to embrace the moment and go for it.

"The team is full of enthusiasm and positivity, and we know that we have a big challenge but also a big opportunity to go to Anfield and do something we haven't done for many years, and that is what is driving the team."

Arteta's men head to Anfield with a dismal record in recent years, with the Gunners not taking three points away from the famous old ground since the 2012-13 season, when goals from Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla earned a 2-0 victory with Arteta playing in midfield for Arsenal.

Arteta does not feel his team should fear going to Anfield, saying: "We've been in a few grounds that we haven't won at in many years, and we've managed to do that. We're capable of doing it.

"We'll need to be better, certainly than in the second half of last year. First of all, it's a different group coming from a different position. What we need to have is courage. On Sunday, we'll try to be that team."

Liverpool have failed to hit the heights of previous seasons, knocked out of all cup competitions and sitting eighth in the league as they desperately scrap to achieve European qualification.

When asked if he was surprised by the Reds' disappointing campaign, Arteta replied: "It's more admiration because it shows the difficulty of being at the top and transforming a football club.

"It shows how hard it is to maintain that. We've all had difficult moments, but what they've done at the club is remarkable."

The Arsenal manager also confirmed the Gunners are set to be boosted by Bukayo Saka being fit to start after a bout of illness saw him drop to the bench for the 4-1 home thrashing of Leeds United last weekend.

Mikel Arteta hailed Arsenal's focus as the Premier League leaders restored their eight-point advantage with victory over Leeds United at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners' lead at the summit was reduced to five points following Manchester City's 4-1 win over Liverpool earlier on Saturday, but Arteta's side matched that result against Leeds to pull clear once more.

Gabriel Jesus scored twice while Ben White and Granit Xhaka were also target for the hosts, who were without Bukayo Saka from the start for the first time in the Premier League this season.

Arteta, who revealed the England forward was benched having suffered with illness on Friday, was delighted with the way his players remained concentrated on the task in hand.

"We had a few things going on with some individuals. It has been a concerning few days because we could not decide until this morning if some players would be available and the line-up," he told BBC.

"After an international break, you do not know if they are in the frame of mind to come back and do the things necessary to win this league. I am really happy with the performance.

"We were aware [of Man City's result] as it is a huge game, and we wanted to watch parts of it. But when we got here, it was just to focus on us and what we can do as a team. They are used to it. We can only control what we can do."

The Gunners boss also praised Jesus, who netted a brace on his first start since returning from injury.

"I am so happy for him after all the work from him and the staff throughout the last five months," Arteta said. "Today, he got rewarded for that. He brings that quality and unpredictability to the squad."

"Everyone is playing so well, it is easy to come back," Jesus added. "The most important thing is that everyone that has come in has played good.

"I want to score every game, but sometimes it can't happen. I am more happy with the three points than the goals. 

"We said before the game not to look at goal difference and focus on the points. But sometimes, you have to try and score more and more, as it might matter at the end of the season."

White also paid tribute to Arsenal for not getting distracted by the Man City scoreline from earlier in the day.

"There's a lot of noise going on outside," the defender told BBC Radio 5 Live. "I don't really know what's right or wrong, I have never been in this position [competing in a title race] before. So, we are just keeping quiet, heads down and working hard."

Pep Guardiola "would love to be in the position" of Arsenal in the Premier League title race, saying Manchester City's "experience counts for nothing" as they look to catch the Gunners.

City have won the Premier League in four of the last five seasons, but Mikel Arteta's Arsenal side have enjoyed a brilliant campaign to give them a great chance of winning their first league title since the 2003-04 'Invincibles' side.

The Citizens are playing catch-up with the Gunners holding an eight-point lead at the summit, and though City have a game in hand, Guardiola acknowledged his side's vast experience of winning titles may not be enough to overhaul the deficit.

"I would love to be in the position of Arsenal," Guardiola told reporters. "I'd prefer to be Arsenal in the Premier League than the position we have.

"Eight points is a real advantage. Experience counts for nothing. They will not drop many points.

"You have to prove it every day. The past is the past. [The] reality is people tomorrow don't think about what you've done in the past. You have to show it again and again otherwise you have to retire."

City return from the international break when they host Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, with the Reds sitting sixth after running Guardiola's men to within a point of the title last season.

Asked whether a collapse similar to the one Liverpool have suffered could have happened to City if he had left the Etihad, Guardiola insisted a drop-off of that magnitude could happen to any club.

"I never think this won't happen," Guardiola said. "Teams win the Premier League, year after they drop off. [It] can happen to anyone, Liverpool, Chelsea.

"[You are] always going to try to find a solution to avoid it. If you don't do well it can happen.

"What happened with Liverpool can happen, I don't know why it has not happened to us. 

"All I know is what you did yesterday doesn't count for tomorrow."

Guardiola feels the pressure is only ever a couple of defeats away, explaining: "I've lived a fairytale history here in Manchester. We have won a lot and that's why the storm is less. [But the] moment we will lose, the storm will come.

"When you win it's safe, comfortable. When you lose, you have to find the solution, have to figure out why you are not consistent.

"When we didn't win one, two, three games it's normal. You can lose, figure out why it happened. [You cannot] always expect to win all the games for 10 years, it's not the reality."

Arsenal can see the finish line in the Premier League title race after returning from the international break, but Mikel Arteta just wants his players to enjoy it.

The Gunners are in pole position to end a 19-year wait for the championship, eight points clear of Manchester City – albeit having played a game more.

Arteta's men were also in top form before the season was paused a fortnight ago, and they will be expecting another win at home to Leeds United.

By then, City will have played Liverpool, who could tilt the odds further in Arsenal's favour.

 

But Arteta is trying to avoid worrying about matters elsewhere, explaining this week: "We cannot control the outcome of other clubs.

"All we can control is what we do every single day, how we behave, how we train, how we communicate, how we control our energy, and the messages we send to our people.

"Now, it has to be about enjoying the last part of the season, with enthusiasm, energy and a real hunger to continue to do what we've done and, if possible, better.

"I think we have really good people, and we have really good players. They are curious all the time to improve, learn and be better. It is a joy to work with this group.

"They really follow us and want to please everybody, and they love what they do, love living with each other and playing for each other. I think you can sense that."

Leeds were beaten 1-0 in the reverse fixture at Elland Road, a near-miss that new boss Javi Gracia has no interest in reflecting on.

"We are looking for the next game and focused on the next game," he said.

"For sure we are playing against the team at the top of the table and it will be very demanding for us.

"But to have one option to get a good result, the first step is to believe that you can do it. The team believe that we can do it."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Arsenal – Bukayo Saka

Saka was one of the undoubted stars of the international break, with a sublime goal and equally brilliant assist for Harry Kane in England's 2-0 win over Ukraine. That sort of display was in keeping with what the Arsenal winger has produced in the Premier League this season, with no other player in the division joining him in reaching double-figures for both goals (12) and assists (10). Only Erling Haaland (33) and Kane (23) have more goal involvements.

 

Leeds United – Jack Harrison

Harrison has suddenly rediscovered his scoring touch, netting in back-to-back games after just two goals in his previous 29 Premier League appearances. But that is not to say he had not been delivering for Leeds in other ways as the winger leads the way for both assists (six) and chances created (41) among his team-mates.

MATCH PREDICTION – ARSENAL WIN

Arsenal have not lost to Leeds in all competitions since a 3-2 defeat in May 2003 ended their title bid. It will take more than that to stop the Gunners this time, though, and a repeat appears pretty unlikely at Emirates Stadium.

Leeds have won only two of their 23 meetings with Premier League leaders, including losing each of their four such games against Arsenal by an aggregate score of 14-2.

Meanwhile, Arteta's men are on a six-match winning run in the league, their joint-best under this manager. Arsenal last won seven in a row with Unai Emery at the helm between August and October 2018.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Arsenal - 61.4 per cent

Leeds United - 15.7 per cent

Draw - 22.9 per cent

William Saliba has been ruled out of Arsenal's Premier League meeting with Leeds United with a back injury, but Mikel Arteta is hopeful of having Thomas Partey available.

France international Saliba limped off during Arsenal's Europa League clash with Sporting CP on March 16 and sat out the 4-1 league win over Crystal Palace three days later.

The 22-year-old, who has started 32 of Arsenal's 39 games this season, subsequently pulled out of France's squad for their Euro 2024 qualifiers during the international break.

Arteta had been hopeful Saliba would be available in time for the Gunners' return to action on Saturday, but the centre-back is still not ready.

"He is progressing but still has some discomfort in his back," Arteta said at Friday's pre-match press conference. "He's not going to be fit for this game. 

"We're doing everything to get him back feeling better, but he is not ready yet."

There have been suggestions Arsenal could be without Saliba for the majority of their remaining 10 league games, but Arteta does not see that being the case.

"We're very hopeful [he will return soon] and he is as well," Arteta said. "Back injuries are tricky in terms of how they evolve with the load that you put in certain areas. 

"Let’s push it and see how he copes with that. He's so willing to be back in the team. We're very positive and pushing it every day, seeing how the pain develops."

Takehiro Tomiyasu also limped off in the Sporting match, which saw Arsenal eliminated from the Europa League, and has since been ruled out for the campaign.

Arsenal had another injury scare in the week, meanwhile, as influential midfielder Partey did not play in Ghana's 1-1 draw with Angola for precautionary reasons.

But the 29-year-old is likely to feature against 14th-place Leeds at Emirates Stadium as Arsenal look to maintain – or indeed extend – their eight-point lead at the summit.

"We're positive about him. Hopefully he'll be back," Arteta said.

Arteta confirmed he otherwise has a fully-fit squad to choose from, with striker Gabriel Jesus now nearing full fitness after recently returning from a long-term lay-off.

"He's close to 100 per cent," Arteta said. "He's taken a big step forward in recent days, creating chaos in training. He's in a really good place."

Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 13 meetings with Leeds in all competitions, winning 11 of those, since a 3-2 loss in May 2003 that ended the Gunners' title bid that season.

The Gunners have won six league games in a row ahead of hosting Leeds to keep Manchester City, who they still have to face away from home, at arm's length.

Mikel Arteta has been named the Premier League manager of the month for the fourth time this season after an unbeaten March.

The Arsenal boss collects the award as the Premier League leaders celebrated a perfect month that saw them extend their lead at the top of the table to eight points over Manchester City, while Bukayo Saka's involvement in that run has seen him win the player of the month trophy.

The Gunners scored 14 goals and conceded just three in their four league games in March, with victories over Everton, Bournemouth, Fulham and Crystal Palace. 

Having won 4-0 against Everton, Arsenal then salvaged a dramatic 3-2 victory against relegation-threatened Bournemouth courtesy of Reiss Nelson's injury-time winner.

A rampant first-half display saw them beat Fulham 3-0 before another convincing 4-1 victory against Crystal Palace prior to the international break. 

The award also marks a clean sweep for the north London side, with Saka taking home the player of the month award after his three goals and two assists in March.

Arteta fought off competition for this month's award from Brighton and Hove Albion's Roberto De Zerbi, Aston Villa's Unai Emery and City's Pep Guardiola.

The award is Arteta's fourth of the season having also won it in August, November and January.

The Spaniard is now just one off the record of five awards set by Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp in the 2019-20 season.

Mikel Arteta labelled Arsene Wenger as the most influential manager in Premier League history, after the former Arsenal boss was inducted into the competition's Hall of Fame.

On Wednesday, Wenger was inducted alongside Alex Ferguson, with the pair becoming the first managers to go into the Hall of Fame after 16 players had already been added.

Wenger won three Premier League titles – including with the 2003-04 'Invincibles' – and seven FA Cups during his long stint in charge of Arsenal.

He is renowned for introducing a revolutionary football philosophy, which included a commitment to attacking football.

"I don't think any other managers have had a more impact," Arteta said.

"Some managers have brought different ideas, different characters, different competitions. 

"He opened the Premier League to the world in a different way to other managers. He had a vision that was much wider than any other manager had at the time.

"England and the Premier League have to be very grateful forever to this man."

Arteta played under Wenger for five seasons between 2011 and 2016, before becoming Arsenal boss himself in 2019.

After winning the 2020 FA Cup, Arteta has the Gunners leading the Premier League by eight points with 10 games to go.

On track for Arsenal’s first title in 19 years, Arteta has credited Wenger for helping him as a player and then in the next step of his career.

"I had a dream to play for this club and that was because of the way Arsenal played," added Arteta.

"It was so attractive. I had a phenomenal time with him. He pushed me as well at the end of my career to become a coach.

"We had a conversation and I asked him what he would do in my position because I had doubts in my career over whether I wanted to continue my journey as a coach.

"He helped me at the club and at the academy to do my badges and again, he was an inspiration."

Mikel Arteta labelled Arsene Wenger as the most influential manager in Premier League history, after the former Arsenal boss was inducted into the competition's Hall of Fame.

On Wednesday, Wenger was inducted alongside Alex Ferguson, with the pair becoming the first managers to go into the Hall of Fame after 16 players had already been added.

Wenger won three Premier League titles – including with the 2003-04 'Invincibles' – and seven FA Cups during his long stint in charge of Arsenal.

He is renowned for introducing a revolutionary football philosophy, which included a commitment to attacking football.

"I don't think any other managers have had a more impact," Arteta said.

"Some managers have brought different ideas, different characters, different competitions. 

"He opened the Premier League to the world in a different way to other managers. He had a vision that was much wider than any other manager had at the time.

"England and the Premier League have to be very grateful forever to this man."

Arteta played under Wenger for five seasons between 2011 and 2016, before becoming Arsenal boss himself in 2019.

After winning the 2020 FA Cup, Arteta has the Gunners leading the Premier League by eight points with 10 games to go.

On track for Arsenal’s first title in 19 years, Arteta has credited Wenger for helping him as a player and then in the next step of his career.

"I had a dream to play for this club and that was because of the way Arsenal played," added Arteta.

"It was so attractive. I had a phenomenal time with him. He pushed me as well at the end of my career to become a coach.

"We had a conversation and I asked him what he would do in my position because I had doubts in my career over whether I wanted to continue my journey as a coach.

"He helped me at the club and at the academy to do my badges and again, he was an inspiration."

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has heaped praise on Bukayo Saka for his consistency but claims the youg star still has room for improvement.

Saka has been a key pillar in Arsenal's Premier League success this term, with the side sitting eight points clear of second-placed Manchester City as they chase their first league title since 2003-04.

Only Manchester City's Erling Haaland and Tottenham's Harry Kane have more combined goals and assists in the league this season, with Saka having netted 12 goals with 10 assists. Saka has also started all 28 of Arsenal's league games this campaign.

"First of all, I think you have to recognise what he's been doing," Arteta told Sky Sports about 21-year-old Saka.

"The consistency he's shown at his age and at this level is something rare to see. He's taken it with normality.

"If you ask me if he has room for improvement, I would say: 'Yes - a lot.' He's never satisfied, he always wants more and he can still do a lot of things better and more efficiently, but we are really pleased to have him."

Talks are ongoing between Arsenal and Saka on a new deal, with his current contract due to expire in 2024.

Last week former Arsenal centre-back Kolo Toure urged the club to sign Saka on a 10-year deal to secure his long-term future.

Saka was outstanding for England at last year's World Cup and netted in Sunday's 2-0 win over Ukraine at Wembley.

Arsenal will face the MLS All-Stars, who will be coached by Wayne Rooney, in a friendly in July.

The annual MLS All-Star Game sees a squad made up of players from across the league come together to face an opponent.

For the last two years, the MLS All-Stars have played a Liga MX All-Stars team, with the team from the United States' top tier emerging victorious on both occasions.

However, the 2023 edition will see the MLS All-Stars return to playing a European club, with Arsenal appearing in the exhibition event for a second time.

The Gunners beat an All-Stars side that included Andrea Pirlo, Kaka, Didier Drogba and David Villa 2-1 in San Jose in 2016.

This year's match will be held at Audi Field in Washington, D.C, with England's joint-record goalscorer Rooney – who coaches D.C. United in MLS – set to take charge of the All-Stars.

"I've had a front-row seat to watch the growth and development of Major League Soccer, first as a player and now as a manager," said Rooney in a statement.

"The opportunity to lead the best our league has to offer against a top Premier League club like Arsenal will be a highlight for me personally and an unforgettable experience for our passionate fanbase here in D.C."

Mikel Arteta said: "It's great that we're playing against the MLS All-Stars in Washington D.C. in July.

"Our US tour [in 2022] was very good preparation for the season, and we're looking forward to once again visiting our amazing supporters in the US. The match against the MLS All-Stars will be a good test ahead of the 2023-24 season."

On July 18, 10 Arsenal players will also go up against 10 MLS players in the Skills Challenge, which will again be held at Audi Field.

Arsenal are eight points clear at the top of the Premier League with 10 games remaining, while Rooney's D.C. United are 11th in the Eastern Conference in MLS with four points from as many games this season.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is unsure if Takehiro Tomiyasu will return from injury this season, though he is hopeful the Gunners will receive more positive news on fellow defender William Saliba.

Tomiyasu and Saliba were both forced out of Arsenal's Europa League last-16 second leg against Sporting CP – which Arteta's men eventually lost on penalties – with injuries on Thursday.

Both men were then absent as Arsenal established an eight-point lead at the Premier League summit on Sunday, thrashing managerless Crystal Palace 4-1 on a weekend when title rivals Manchester City were on FA Cup duty.

Asked after that win whether Tomiyasu's knee injury could rule him out for the rest of the campaign, Arteta said: "We don't know, obviously the doctor is assessing him. 

"We've had one assessment, they need to have another assessment tomorrow, but it's not looking good, that's for sure. 

"Looking at Tomi, he's not someone who exaggerates things. He was really concerned straight away, and we are concerned."

Reports have suggested Saliba may be forced to withdraw from France's squad for their upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland, but Arteta hopes he will not miss a significant portion of Arsenal's run-in.

Rob Holding made his first start of the Premier League season against Palace, and Arteta says more fringe players will need to step up as the Gunners chase their first title since 2004.

"We hope Willy is going to be better news, but again we have to wait until [Monday] to understand a better picture," he said.

"We have lost players – we lost Gabby [Gabriel Jesus] for four months; we lost Thomas [Partey] for one and a half months; we lost Oleksandr Zinchenko for one and a half months.

"We lost [Mohamed] Elneny for six to eight months; we lost Eddie [Nketiah], and now we lost Tomiyasu and Saliba. Everybody has to give more. 

"It's not a secret, if we want to maintain that level, everyone has to step in, give more, and Rob is a great example of what we needed today."

Mikel Arteta praised the mentality of Gabriel Martinelli for putting his penalty miss against Sporting CP behind him with his display in Arsenal's 4-1 win over Crystal Palace.

Martinelli's saved spot-kick proved decisive in Arsenal's Europa League last-16 shoot-out defeat to Sporting on Thursday, with Nuno Santos stepping up to eliminate Arteta's men.

The Brazil international was named in Arsenal's starting line-up to face Palace on Sunday and opened the scoring in a routine victory as the Gunners returned to winning ways.

Arteta revealed after the game that he deliberated over whether to include Martinelli from the beginning, but his decision to do so more than paid off.

"The reaction he had after missing the penalty... There's always the question," Arteta told BBC Sport. "But I asked him how he was and he said he wants to be in the team."

Martinelli is Arsenal's leading goalscorer in the Premier League this season with 13 goals, including six in his past six top-flight appearances.

That is the most goals a player has scored in a single campaign for Arsenal while aged 21 or under since Nicolas Anelka's 17 in the 1998-99 campaign.

Reflecting on how he put the disappointment of missing a penalty behind him, Martinelli said: "It is life. Not every game you are going to score and play well. 

"Of course I was sad and spent the whole night thinking about that penalty, but it is over. I scored a goal today and we got the three points, which is the most important thing."

Bukayo Saka assisted Martinelli's brilliantly taken opener and scored two goals of his own, either side of Granit Xhaka's strike, as Arsenal made it six league wins in a row.

England international Saka is the only player in the Premier League this season with double figures for both goals (12) and assists (10), but he was upset not to get a hat-trick.

 

"He was disappointed," Arteta said. "That is what we need. We need our front players firing and making the difference and today they did that again.

"The desire and the energy that we put in right from the beginning impressed me most. We were really determined and focused and left Thursday in the past. 

"After playing 120 minutes, they have to come back here and do it again against a team with a lot of needs."

Arsenal have now won 22 Premier League games this season, which is as many as they managed across the whole of last season and their most ever after 28 games.

Arteta's side are eight points clear of Manchester City, who have a game in hand, heading into the final international break of the season.

"It feels very good, especially with the way we have played and the results we have picked up," Arteta said of his side's points advantage on City, who they still have to play.

"Now we must stop and make sure everyone comes back from the internationals with the same mindset. We have Leeds next and we put the focus there."

Palace, who sacked Patrick Vieira earlier this week, are one of two sides yet to win a match in England's top four tiers in 2023 along with League One's Forest Green Rovers.

Jeffrey Schlupp did manage to pull a goal back for Palace at 3-0 when taking advantage of some sloppy defending, which meant Arteta was not entirely pleased with his side.

"I am not happy with that," he said. "Again, it is from a set-piece. We need to improve on that."

With their victory against Palace, Arsenal are the first side in English Football League history to win as many as nine London derbies in a single league season.

Mikel Arteta has backed his Arsenal players to put their Europa League disappointment behind them against managerless Crystal Palace in the first of "11 finals" remaining this season.

Arsenal's cup hopes for the season were ended in a penalty shoot-out loss to Sporting CP on Thursday, meaning their entire focus is now on finishing top of the Premier League.

The Gunners have won five in a row in the top flight and are five points clear of Manchester City, who are not in league action this weekend.

While Arsenal's European prospects are over for another campaign, it could yet prove a blessing in disguise as they chase down a first league title in 19 years.

"The disappointment is not going to go away," Arteta said. "The disappointment is there. But it brings us clarity.

"There are 11 Premier League games to play and the next final is against Palace. We have to recover and put all our energy and focus on that game."

Arsenal handed a first start to fit-again striker Gabriel Jesus since November in their meeting with Sporting, but Takehiro Tomiyasu and William Saliba both sustained injuries.

Arteta will evaluate the fitness of his players ahead of Sunday's visit of London rivals Palace, who parted company with Arsenal great Patrick Vieira on Friday.

Under-21s coach Paddy McCarthy will take charge of the trip to Emirates Stadium as Palace seek a first win in 13 attempts across all competitions this calendar year.

They are still a respectable 12th heading into the weekend's action despite their poor run of form, but the gap on the bottom three now stands at just three points.

Explaining the decision to part company with Vieira, Palace chairman Steve Parish told Sky Sports: "It's a shame because I have an enormous amount of time and respect for Patrick.

"But it's a results-based business. It's very tight at the bottom, and I have to think about what gives us the best chance of retaining our status."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Arsenal – Gabriel Martinelli

Gabriel Martinelli's penalty miss proved decisive in the shoot-out loss to Sporting, but the Brazil international has otherwise been brilliant for Arsenal this campaign.

 

Indeed, Martinelli is Arsenal's top Premier League scorer this term with 12, which is the most goals a player has scored for the club while aged 21 or under since Nicolas Anelka's 17 in the 1998-99 season.

Crystal Palace – Jordan Ayew

Palace have gone four games without finding the net and are in desperate need of their attacking players stepping up.

Ayew has not scored in 11 league appearances, but against no team has he scored more goals in the competition than he has managed against Arsenal (four).

MATCH PREDICTION – ARSENAL WIN

Palace have avoided defeat in each of their past four away Premier League meetings against Arsenal, with each of the past three finishing all square.

However, the Eagles are in terrible form and make this latest trip to Emirates Stadium with their under-21s coach in charge.

Arsenal by comparison are in good form domestically and have won eight of their nine London derbies in the league this campaign – a record they will be confident of improving.

 

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Arsenal – 54.6 per cent

Crystal Palace – 18.9 per cent

Draw – 26.5 per cent

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