Mikel Arteta told he may dash title hopes with treatment of 5 stars

Premier League returns: Arsenal's mid-season review

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Mikel Arteta has been told he risks derailing Arsenal’s Premier League title hunt if he loses faith in five star players in the second part of the season. The Gunners currently pose the biggest threat to Manchester City’s defence of their crown, with Arteta able to stick to a set core of names so far.

Arsenal enter the Boxing Day restart as Premier League leaders, sitting five points ahead of Man City when West Ham United visit the Emirates Stadium. But with over half the campaign left, Arteta will likely need to keep his crucial players fit to stand any chance of beating his former mentor Pep Guardiola to top-flight glory.

Premier League winner Dion Dublin has named five players the Spanish coach needs to continue playing to maintain Arsenal’s momentum. Speaking exclusively to Express Sport, he touted two Man City exports as paramount pawns in the Gunners’ title chase. He said: “Jesus, obviously, Saka, Odegaard, maybe Partey. One of those, definitely.

“Jesus, what a great signing that way. Zinchenko as well. He’s not playing as much as he wants to play, but what a footballer he is, by the way. So they have some really good stock, Arsenal, and I believe that their mentality [and] the way people see Arsenal has changed.”

Dublin drooled over Arsenal’s improvements this season under Arteta, suggesting it would be ‘rude’ to overlook his side as genuine title challengers. He believes consistency could be the decisive factor in their dreams and hailed Arteta for changing perceptions of him through impactful coaching.

“I’ve been asked this question a lot because Arsenal keep doing so well,” Dublin explained. “They’ve been very consistent. It’s hard not to say that they’re not title contenders. I think that would be quite rude because they’ve been quite potent in all departments. So, yes, they are. They are title contenders. I don’t see why you wouldn’t say they are.

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“It’s just a consistency level. That’s all it is. Can they maintain it? I don’t think there’s a doubt in their quality and their organisation, and Mikel Arteta has probably changed a few fans’ minds about what they want and what they want from him.

“I think the documentary has helped as well on Arsenal, being able to see behind the scenes. And I believe Arsenal are in a good place, and yes, I do think they are talking contenders.”

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