Mikel Arteta does not want to compare the Arsenal team of which he is part with the Gunners side that went a full season unbeaten in the Premier League, Sky
While the former Everton midfielder accepts that the arrival of Mesut Ozil has made Arsene Wenger’s side into a more formidable proposition, Arteta does not want to discuss the current crop of players in the same terms as the group of the 2003-04 season that claimed the title without tasting defeat – despite Arsenal going 10 games without defeat by beating Napoli in the Champions League on Tuesday.
“I don’t think we are at that level yet, but competition makes everyone work harder so it is a great thing because it raises the level,” Arteta said. “If you don’t play well for one or two games, then you can be dropped.”
“We have players to come back like Santi (Cazorla) and Abou Diaby and that’s the way we want it. When it is really tough, everyone is at 100 per cent and that makes a big difference.”
Ozil opened his Arsenal account against the Serie A side and later set up a goal for Olivier Giroud, with Arteta revealing that the signing of the Germany international caught everyone at the club by surprise – but it was the most pleasant surprise imaginable.
“It was a great message from the club because everyone was really expecting a top, top player, probably a striker rather than a number 10,” Arteta added, “But in the end we got an amazing player and that gave a lift to everyone, not only us but you can see the people are excited again to come and watch and that makes a big difference.
“A player like Ozil gives you a step forward quality-wise and gives you another player on the pitch who can decide the game for you. He proved again that he is able to do it and that’s always great. The more players you have like that, the better chance you have.”
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