Mikel Arteta says Arsenal are NOT lacking in brute force after Man City defeat

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Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal are not lacking in brutes after taking time to digest their 4-1 defeat by Manchester City in which they were bullied by the Premier League’s new leaders.

Aside from their splendid style of play, City’s physicality overpowered Arsenal, who in the past have benefited from having warrior-like figures such as Patrick Vieira and Martin Keown.

Arteta maintained that size does not matter, citing how City won the 2017-18 Premier League with 100 points using slight players such as David Silva and Sergio Aguero, and how Barcelona dominated Europe with Xavi, Andres Iniesta and, of course, Lionel Messi.

Arsenal can reclaim first position in the Premier League by beating Chelsea on Tuesday night and despite the obituaries being written about their title charge, Arteta is adamant this race ‘is not over’.

‘It’s a great question,’ he said when asked if they need to add some brutes to their squad. ‘Playing with David Silva, Bernardo Silva, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling — 100 points. Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Pedro — six titles. Incredible players.

‘They step up. They love what they do. They create the right chemistry.’ Raising his arm in the air, Arteta continued: ‘If you have them and they’re two metres tall like this? Even better. Are they good enough technically? Are they sharp enough? Can they turn?

‘The perfect machine, that’s what we all want. Give me 24 of those. We are all looking for the perfect squad and hopefully we can find it. It takes time. You don’t do it in one, two or three. That’s seven years’ worth of process. You cannot copy and paste.’

The timeline of seven years is significant because that is how long Pep Guardiola has been in charge of City. Arteta went on to say their rivals raised their game to ‘a different level’ last week with Arsenal losing the lead in the Premier League for the first time since February 17.

‘When a team is able to take the game to a different level and you’re not able to step to that, you have to recognise there is still work to do,’ Arteta said.

‘Don’t get confused, be very humble and recognise our strengths and weaknesses.’

In a nod to the number of days they have spent at the top of the table this season, Arteta continued: ‘The reality is that for 247 days we’ve been with them. We still have the nicest part of the season to play with five games to go. When I still look at it, this is not over, you know?

‘I would pay a lot of money to be in this position again next season. A lot, believe me. I want to maximise the moment we have and go for it.

‘Now it is not in our hands. What is in our hands is to win our games. That’s what we’re going to try to do and the rest is down to City.’

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