Mikel Arteta says that whilst plenty has changed in the top-four race, the mentality at Arsenal is still the same as under Arsene Wenger.
On Monday night, Arsenal face Crystal Palace in the midst of a pretty intense battle for a spot in the top four.
Arsenal appear to have pulled away from West Ham United (three points behind having played three games more) and Wolves (five points behind having played three games more), but Manchester United and particularly Tottenham Hotspur are still very much in contention.
Mikel Arteta’s side probably need an almost perfect record from now on to secure a Champions League qualification spot, but it’s certainly still on the cards.
Discussing the current top-four race and how it compares to his playing days, Arteta argued it’s different in some ways and the same in others.
“It’s very different,” Arteta said. “The position is different, the context is different, the teams that were involved in that race are probably different.
“[But] nothing changed from when I played here. I never played to say ‘can we finish fourth this year?’, I never had that mentality and Arsene [Wenger] never installed that mentality around the club.
“It’s not different from what we want to do now.”
You’d certainly hope that Arsenal weren’t going into the season with the ultimate goal of simply finishing in the top four.
It’s one thing to target a Champions League finish when all trophies are off the table, but it’s another to aim for nothing but top four from the start.
Having said that, it would be a major victory for Arteta’s current project should they make it into fourth this season. It would be a step forwards and set the club up well for the coming campaigns.