Arteta braced for 'roller-coaster' ride as top four race heats up

Five teams -- Manchester United, West Ham United, Arsenal, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur -- are separated by seven points and vying for fourth place.

Arteta also responded to reports the club were looking to extend his contract, saying nothing had been discussed.   -  REUTERS

Arsenal is in for a tense race to seal the fourth and final Champions League spot in the Premier League, a race with fine margins that could be decided only at the end of the season, manager Mikel Arteta said on Wednesday.

Five teams -- Manchester United, West Ham United, Arsenal, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur -- are separated by seven points and vying for fourth place.

READ | Champions League: Vlahovic scores in UCL debut, Juve draws 1-1 at Villarreal

Arsenal last played in the 2016-17 Champions League and though Arteta conceded he missed the competition, he remains focused on the job at hand.

"I think it's going to be a bit of a roller-coaster," Arteta told reporters ahead of Thursday's home league match against Wolves.

"There are moments when a team opens a gap and then (others) catch up. You see the fixtures we all have to play and they're extremely tricky.

"(The players) know what every game means for us. We know where we are -- that race is going to be right till the end. There are a lot of clubs involved. You see different results than expected... Points at home will be crucial."

Arteta also responded to reports the club were looking to extend his contract, saying nothing had been discussed.

"I am really happy here, my aim is just to build with the club a winning team, a team that people enjoy watching, that they identify with," Arteta said.

READ | Rangnick's interim status at Man Utd causing some uncertainty, says Fred

Arsenal is playing Wolves for a second time this month after December's fixture was postponed. Wolves has the second best defensive record in the league and has won five of its last six games, losing only to Arsenal.

Arteta praised his counterpart Bruno Lage for Wolves' consistency after the club steadily moved up the standings to sit seventh, two points behind Arsenal.

"The work the manager and coaching staff are doing is exceptional," Arteta said.

"They have a really clear way of playing, they have a really competitive team. It's really hard to beat them and it will be tough tomorrow."

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :