Arsenal a long way from being title contenders, says Arteta, Newsline

LONDON – Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is pleased with his team’s start to the Premier League campaign but believes the north London club have a long way to go before they can be considered title contenders.

Arsenal finished eighth last season, 43 points behind champions Liverpool, but have made a strong start to the new campaign with two wins.

Arteta’s side opened with a 3-0 victory over promoted Fulham before battling to a 2-1 win over London rivals West Ham United on Saturday.

“I think we are very far from where we want to be,” the 38-year-old Spaniard said. “But I think if you ask any manager in the Premier League if they are happy with the way everything is going now for the team, it is probably no.”

“We had a super mini pre-season and we are still adapting some things and some players are still not 100% fit either. But it’s great to start winning and to have six points already and to find ways to keep winning.”

Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette, who scored the opener against West Ham, has been linked with a move away from the Emirates but Arteta remained tight-lipped over the Frenchman’s future.

“He’s a player I’m really happy with. I think we’ve shown him a lot of faith since I arrived here. But we cannot start any speculation. We know that any player who is under two years of their contract is always going to be talked about,” Arteta said.

“We haven’t started any negotiations over a new contract. We have a lot of things still to do in this market and at the moment we are focusing on those things.”

Arsenal face Leicester City in the League Cup on Wednesday.