Mikel Arteta: 'Arsenal have exceeded expectations even without Champions League football' | OneFootball

Mikel Arteta: 'Arsenal have exceeded expectations even without Champions League football'

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Mikel Arteta has stressed that the 2021/22 campaign must be remembered fondly by Arsenal fans even if the Gunners ultimately fail to qualify for the Champions League.

A late-season slump has likely seen Arsenal hand Tottenham the final spot in the Premier League top four, but few would have predicted the Gunners would be involved in a European battle at all after finishing eighth last year and looking miles away from competing with those above them.

But while there may still be a disappointing end to the season - Arsenal need to beat Everton on Sunday and hope that Spurs lose to Norwich to leapfrog their north London rivals at this late stage - Arteta urged supporters to look at the bigger picture.

"In a few weeks' time, when we are on holidays and we look back at what we've done - whether we're in the Champions League or the Europa League - I think everybody would agree that we did more than was expected, for sure," he told BBC Sport.

Arteta also insisted that the young age of his squad must be taken into account and praised as Arsenal look to fight their way back to the top of the standings.

"They have shown they have what it takes because what they have done, in the last ten seasons nobody has done it," he said of his youthful squad. "A club with that age bracket in the starting XI on the pitch, it hasn't been done in this league.

"It's something they have done and that's credit to the team for what they have delivered. The thing is, where we want to be is not where we are today. We want to be the best, but that gap is still really big.

"We've come a long way with a lot of things, especially in who we are as a club and the connection between what we're doing and how people feel about it. That's really important as well and it takes a long time to build that trust."

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