Mikel Arteta insists he is not interested in what happens at title rivals Manchester City – either on or off the pitch.
Arsenal sit two points clear at the top of the Premier League before travelling to 17th‑placed Luton on Tuesday.
Liverpool are their nearest challengers as City were held to a draw for the third league game in a row, with Tottenham taking a share of the spoils at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
City pipped Arsenal to the title last season en route to winning the treble. Asked if he has seen a drop‑off from that City side that swatted away all comers last year, the Gunners manager said: “I don’t look at those things. I have enough looking at my team. I think about how we’re going to play better tomorrow and be more consistent and be more difficult to beat and the things that we need to tweak and how we can use our players in the best possible ways to win. It’s still a huge marathon ahead of us.
“The encouragement comes from watching the team play, watching them behave every day and how hungry and willing they are to approach every training session. That’s what gives me encouragement. What the others do is something that we cannot control.”
Arteta was also namechecked by his friend and former colleague Pep Guardiola in the aftermath of City’s 3-3 draw with Spurs. Guardiola refused to be drawn on the decision of Simon Hooper not to play an advantage late in the game as City broke through on goal – saying he would “not do a Mikel Arteta comment”.
It was a clear reference to former City assistant Arteta, who is still awaiting the outcome of a Football Association charge after he labelled as “embarrassing” and “a disgrace” the VAR decision to award Anthony Gordon’s goal in the 1-0 defeat by Newcastle last month.
When asked about Guardiola’s jibe, Arteta said: “On to the next one [question] please.” Questioned if he was aware of the sort of mind games Premier League managers have utilised in the past, he said: “If I am good at mind games, maybe you don’t notice.”
The Arsenal manager has also insisted he wants to keep Aaron Ramsdale, but ultimately refused to rule out a January move for the out-of-favour goalkeeper.
Since 3 September, Ramsdale has made just one Premier League appearance – against Brentford, when the on-loan David Raya was ineligible. The England keeper’s place at Euro 2024 is in the balance, while a shoulder injury to Nick Pope could see Newcastle in the market for a replacement next month.
Asked if he would be open to selling Ramsdale to Newcastle, Arteta replied: “I want Aaron with us. I am very happy to have two very, very good goalkeepers and Aaron is staying with us. We want to be better, so we want to add to what we already have. That’s the intention that we have.”
When pushed on whether he would categorically rule out a January switch for Ramsdale, the Spaniard added: “I won’t do that to any player. I cannot tell you that any Arsenal player is not going to leave in January, or he is to stay here for the next three years.
“I won’t say that no player is going to go to Newcastle. I won’t say it. I cannot guarantee that nobody is going to be leaving in January. For Newcastle or any other club,” Arteta concluded.