‘Live the final day’: Mikel Arteta dreams of title after win at United sets up climax

<span>Mikel Arteta will be hoping Tottenham can deny Manchester City three points on Tuesday.</span><span>Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA</span>
Mikel Arteta will be hoping Tottenham can deny Manchester City three points on Tuesday.Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA

Mikel Arteta praised his ­Arsenal ­players for “opening the box of dreams” after victory over Manchester United ensured they will fight for the title on the final day of the season. He also insisted that their fiercest rivals, Tottenham, can force a result against Manchester City on Tuesday to help their challenge.

Leandro Trossard’s 20th-­minute goal took Arsenal top on 86 points, one ahead of City. If Ange ­Postecoglou’s team manage a draw against the champions, Arsenal’s superior goal difference of three would give them the edge going into the last day. ­Whatever occurs at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Arteta’s side will still be in contention on Sunday when City host West Ham and Arsenal are at home to Everton.

Related: Arsenal keep up title pressure as Trossard sinks Manchester United

Arteta was asked if Spurs can do his team a favour. “Hopefully they can do it – any team can beat any team – we need a result,” he said. “We have opened that box of dreams to live the final day of the season in front of our people – we want to live that moment, it’s part of our journey, to live the occasion.

“Today we wanted to open that door. Let’s live one of the most beautiful days we’ll have lived together and see what happens. It’s football, there’s always possibilities.

We know the difficulty of it [winning at United] – that’s why we have only won twice [at Old ­Trafford] in 20 years now. We started well but the goal affected us I think in a ­negative way.”

Kai Havertz, who created ­Trossard’s winner, echoed his ­manager. “I am going to be the biggest fan of Tottenham ever. Let’s hope for the best,” he said.

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United’s defeat was their ninth at home in all competitions – the most since the 1973-74 season when they were relegated. They are in eighth place, meaning they may need to beat Manchester City in the FA Cup final to qualify for Europe. Erik ten Hag was asked if he could have done anything better this season.

“Any manager can but also I am two years here and I have [only] one time had a full group of players,” he said. “You can’t progress a team in certain key areas with so many ­injuries, it’s like swimming with your hands on your back and you have to keep your head above the water level, that is what we try to do.

“We are still in a Cup final. But if you want to progress a team you need fit players and you see our opponent today, they had only one not 100% match-fit player and we had so many.” Ten Hag admitted no European football would be “very damaging”.

United’s defeat came after Sir Keir Starmer was the guest of the club, the Labour party leader ­holding ­discussions with Sir Jim Ratcliffe regarding the plans to regenerate Old Trafford.