Mikel Arteta insists seven-point lead over City ‘means nothing’ as Arsenal enhance title challenge

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta insists a seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League is meaningless after his side’s win at Brighton put them further ahead of champions Manchester City.

The Gunners won an enthralling match on the south coast 4-2, going three goals up early on in the second half before a frantic end to the game.

“[They were] really tricky opponents,” Arteta told BBC Sport. “Tonight we had to have a big performance to win against a really good Brighton side and I think we did that. We had to dig in as well.

“They dominate a lot of phases of play. They do a lot of things but we did a lot of things well today to earn the right to win.

“Martin Odegaard had some big moments. He produces in the right moment.

“[We have] a lot of things to improve, especially in defending moments. We still have room to improve.

“We knew the result [of the City game] but the boost is we have to come here and win and to do that we have to perform at the highest level in the league.

“It means nothing because our only focus is again is to improve.”

The Arsenal boss added to Sky Sports: “A big win against a really good side. We were ruthless and clinical and there were moments as well we had to dig in and suffer because they are a really good side. It was a big test for us.

“We were a real threat every time we were around the final third.”

On going seven points clear, Arteta said: “We have to play every game, now we have to focus again and review the match to see what we did well and things we can improve.

“We know what happened but we have to focus on what we can do which was to come here against a difficult side and win.

“We have enough desire. Our success is going to be with what we have to do. This is what we want and we have to keep improving as a team and play better and dominate in all areas.”

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Captain Martin Odegaard scored the second of the night and provided an amazing assist for Gabriel Martinelli to put Arsenal 4-1 up.

The Norweigan playmaker insists the team always focus on themselves and are paying no attention to City, even if they drop points like they did today at home to struggling Everton.

“To be honest, we focus on ourselves,” Odegaard said. “We don’t care about the other teams.

“Three points was everything today and we did it. Maybe we need to control the game a bit bettter, we let them in a couple of times, but they are a good team, good on the ball.

He added: “I am happy to help the team with goals and assists and I am very happy to do that again.

On his assist to Martinelli, Odegaard said: “I saw there was a lot of space in behind and our wingers are so quick. It is not easy to stop Gabriel Martinelli in that position.”

Bukayo Saka was also on the scoresheet and was asked about Arsenal’s seven-point advantage over Pep Guardiola’s side.

“It sounds amazing,” he said. “Of course at the start of the season if you’d asked us if we want this we’d bite your hands off, so we’re really happy.

“We know how hard it is to come here. The early goal set us up. I couldn’t believe it fell for me. I showed some composure to fit it in the far corner and I’m happy it did.

“It’s a great opportunity we have, a great place we have got ourselves into. Our focus is on ourselves, we just focus on our next game. We know how good Newcastle are so that’s our focus now.”

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