Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta Champions League

Mikel Arteta said it is ‘great to be top’ of the table as Arsenal look to end a 20-year wait for the Premier League title.

Arsenal moved top of the division after beating Brentford 2-1 at the weekend, with title rivals Liverpool and Manchester City drawing 1-1 at Anfield the following day.

The Gunners climb above Liverpool on goal difference, each a point ahead of Manchester City in a fascinating three-way battle for the title.

Speaking ahead of facing Porto in the Champions League on Tuesday, Arteta said he was delighted Arsenal were top of the league and outlined his intention to remain at the summit across the run-in.

“It’s great to be top, that’s for sure – it was an amazing game of football (Liverpool vs Manchester City) with two magnificent teams, with so many alternatives,” Arteta said at his pre-match press conference.

“I think it’s an amazing situation that we are even involved, looking at the level that those two teams have, and we are still there and we’re still at the top. So, the ambition rises, we want to continue to be there, and we have to go game-by-game.”

Arsenal are aiming to reach the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2010 tomorrow, but have work to do after a 1-0 first-leg defeat at The Estádio do Dragão.

The north Londoners produced a disappointing performance in the first meeting, failing to register a single shot on target, and Arteta discussed what he has learned from the first meeting with the Portuguese side.

“We’re certainly going to have to tweak a few things to generate much more than what we did against them. It’s the level of the Champions League; you’re facing top teams, the fact that there are two games as well plays on your mind and we’re going to have to be better tomorrow.

“Every week, every opponent has their strengths and weaknesses and the way that they approach the game and now we know them a bit better. We have played these kind of games many times in the Premier League, we played one two days ago. We’ll just focus on being ourselves and do more of the things that we can control better than we did a few weeks ago.”

Arteta called on the home crowd to cheer his side onto success as Arsenal look to break a sequence of seven straight last-16 exits in the competition.

“I think the impact they can make tomorrow is incredible. I don’t think that they really realise so we need that noise and we need them playing every single ball with us. We need that emotion controlled as well to understand that the game can go through certain phases and we have to be really intelligent to push in the right moments to get what we want.

“It is a beautiful opportunity to live these nights – it’s been 14 years so everything that we put in is going to be worth it.”

Read – The Premier League teams to open a calendar year with eight consecutive wins

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