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Friday, June 14, 2024

Son Heung-min was the man Mikel Arteta wanted Tottenham’s big chance to fall to

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Mikel Arteta said Son Heung-min was the one player in the Premier League he would have wanted on the end of the opportunity that could have put Arsenal in pole position to win the Premier League title.

The Gunners head into the final weekend of the campaign relying on West Ham to take points off Pep Guardiola’s side if they are to end a 20-year wait to win the league.

But it could have been City needing help from Arsenal’s opponents Everton on Sunday had Tottenham captain Son not been denied an 86th-minute equaliser by substitute goalkeeper Stefan Ortega when clean through on goal on Tuesday.

“If I had to pick a player in the Premier League for that moment then it would have been him,” Arteta said.

“Michael Jordan explained it many times, how many times you have the winning shot and how sometimes he didn’t always manage to do it.

“This is the beauty of the sport too, so what can you do?”

City went on to beat Spurs 2-0 and will wrap up a fourth straight title if they beat David Moyes’ Hammers at the Etihad Stadium.

But if they slip up, Arsenal can win their first championship since the 2004 Invincibles campaign by beating the Toffees.

Should that happen, Arteta – who was Guardiola’s assistant at City for two title-winning campaigns between 2016 and 2019 – said it would be one of his life’s greatest achievements.

“It would be one of the best days of my life,” Arteta said.

“It is a big dream I didn’t achieve as a player. If I can do it, especially with the people I work with everyday, it will be some day.

“It was great (winning as an assistant). Lifting the trophy was beautiful.”

Arteta believes the title battle highlighted the “magic” of the Premier League.

England’s top tier is the only one of Europe’s ‘big five’ domestic competitions where the championship race has gone down to the last weekend.

“The magic is already happening because this is what every football supporter wants and lives that it goes to the last game,” the Arsenal boss added.

“The last minute of the Premier League at this level, the most beautiful league in the world by far where you have two teams. This is what you want, this is why it’s the most competitive league in the world.

“The unpredictability is like a drug. You are still there, you still have to earn it and it’s uncertain. There are a lot of factors which can change things around very quickly but when you manage to do it, it’s phenomenal.”

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