Arsenal players ready to be Spurs fans in title push, admits William Saliba


 William Saliba says the Arsenal squad are ready to break the club’s religion and become Tottenham supporters. The centre-half, outstanding in the 1-0 victory at Manchester United on Sunday that ensured the Premier League title race will go to the last day, is desperate for Spurs to win or draw their home game against Manchester City on Tuesday night.

It would mean Arsenal stay above City at the top of the table before Sunday’s final fixtures and have control of their own destiny in securing a first title since 2004 – not withstanding a possible goal difference swing. Arsenal are three goals better off than City, who face West Ham at home. Arsenal play Everton at the Emirates Stadium.

Saliba accepts Spurs fans are seriously conflicted, to say the least, about their team potentially helping an Arsenal title party, although he says the sentiment will not affect the players. Spurs remain in contention for a Champions League finish, which would edge one step closer if their rivals for the qualification, Aston Villa, were not to win at home against Liverpool on Monday night.

Saliba wanted to talk up how Spurs, who end the season at Sheffield United, could have plenty to play for against City. Villa’s last game is at in-form Crystal Palace. Saliba, though, is braced for an unusual night, when he will also request the assistance of a higher power. “I think all the [Arsenal] team will be Tottenham fans,” he said. “Let’s pray for Tuesday. I hope it will be a good week for us. We did our job against United and we have another job at the weekend.

“They [Spurs] want to play in the Champions League next season. I know their fans don’t want them to win against City. But they are good competitors so I think they will try their best to win against City. We know Tottenham is a very good team. Our first game and second game this season with them was not easy. I hope they will be at their best on Tuesday.”

Arsenal were below theirs against United, with Saliba suggesting the club’s poor recent record at Old Trafford had been a factor. Before Sunday, Arsenal had won once in 16 league visits – 1-0 in November 2020. Crucially, they found a way. It was about digging in; a triumph of the collective resolve as much as anything else.

“We are happy because it wasn’t easy to come to United and to take the points,” Saliba said. “It was a long time since we had come here and taken the three points.

“Were we aware of the record at Old Trafford? Yes, of course. We weren’t good but we took the three points. When we are not at our best we have to stay compact and suffer until the end.”


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