Sweden midfielder Kristoffer Olsson is on a ventilator in hospital after collapsing at home due to a brain condition, his club Midtjylland have announced.

The 28-year-old, who had a spell at Arsenal as a teenager, has not appeared for the Danish club since December and there had been mounting speculation over his absence.

Midtjylland said in a statement on their official website: “In view of the increasing rumours and speculation that are circulating about the reason for Kristoffer Olsson’s absence in the recent period, we are forced to make this announcement to the public.

“The 28-year-old Swedish international lost consciousness in his home on Tuesday 20 February and was transferred to Aarhus University Hospital, where he has been admitted and on a ventilator.

“Kristoffer Olsson is affected by an apparently acute disease related to the brain, which is not caused by self-harm of any kind, nor is the cause due to external factors.

“A team of Denmark’s leading medical experts is currently working hard to make a diagnosis and initiate the right treatment.”

Midtjylland called for “respect and understanding” and added: “Everyone at FC Midtjylland is of course deeply affected by Kristoffer’s sudden illness and our thoughts and full support go to Kristoffer and his family.”

Arsenal wished Olsson, who has won 47 caps for his country, a “full and speedy recovery” on social media.

Olsson joined the Gunners from Swedish side Norrkoping aged 16 and made one senior appearance as a substitute in a League Cup game against West Brom.

He is currently in his second permanent spell with Midtjylland and has also had stints at AIK, Krasnodar and Anderlecht.

What the papers say

Big changes could be in the pipeline at Chelsea on and off the pitch this summer, according to various reports. The Daily Mail says Sporting Lisbon boss Ruben Amorim is a possible replacement for manager Mauricio Pochettino.

On the field, the club are looking to sell defender Trevoh Chalobah, 24, and Albania forward Armando Broja, 22, according to The Daily Telegraph. England midfielder Conor Gallagher, 24, and Spain left-back Marc Cucurella, 25, could also leave in the summer.

Summer changes are also expected at Manchester United. The Manchester Evening News says Brazil winger Antony, 24, is among the players they would be prepared to sell.

Victor Osimhen is eyeing a move to the Premier League, according to The Sun. Arsenal and Chelsea are believed to be heading the race for the Napoli striker, 25, although Manchester United and Paris St Germain are also reportedly  interested.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Alphonso Davies: Real Madrid have reached agreement to sign the Bayern Munich and Canada left-back, 23, in the summer or next year, according to The Athletic.

Joao Palhinha: Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Arsenal are chasing the Fulham and Portugal midfielder, 28, reports Football Insider.

Jorginho insists he is happy for Arsenal to be “in the shadows” of the Premier League title race and fight as underdogs against Liverpool and Manchester City.

The Gunners are just two points off the top of the table after easing to a 4-1 win over Newcastle on Saturday night.

A Sven Botman own-goal set them on their way before goals from Kai Havertz, Bukayo Saka and Jakub Kiwior rounded off another fine display from Mikel Arteta’s men, although the returning Joe Willock’s late header ruined another clean sheet.

City won the treble last season and remain the favourites to secure a record fourth consecutive Premier League crown – while Liverpool will be aiming to end Jurgen Klopp’s reign in style by winning a second title under the German.

Arsenal, meanwhile, are aiming to go one better than last year when they topped the division for 248 days before ultimately missing out to City.

“I like to be underdogs,” Jorginho said after returning to the starting line-up to put in a man of the match performance against Newcastle.

“Let people speak, we just need to stay humble and keep working hard in the shadows, keep pushing and keep believing.

“That is what we need to do, just keep pushing, pushing and then we will see where we are going to get but we are on the right path.

“We need to keep the momentum going and we can do that. Just working hard the way we are doing and keep believing, keep enjoying this journey together and I think that’s the way that we need to go.”

Arsenal have turned their form around since a mid-season break in Dubai and Jorginho is enjoying his football.

“I think we were creating before but we were not finishing and now it feels that the calls are coming more,” he added.

“It’s a pleasure to see the boys scoring more and they can have fun with the team working hard as well so we are enjoying this moment and we need to just stay humble.

“I’m really happy, not just with my performance but with the team because the team performed very well and that doesn’t happen with everyone.

“It is just a pleasure to be out there enjoying this moment with an incredible team.”

Fit-again Willock came off the bench against his former club to head in a consolation for Newcastle late on in north London.

The 24-year-old is now keen to move on from the defeat and not let it affect the build-up to Tuesday’s FA Cup fifth round tie at Blackburn.

“I think it was a difficult game, they’re a great side, there’s no denying that,” Willock told the club’s official website.

“I think, for us, we just have to stay positive, find those good things to take from the game and we have to take that on Tuesday, it is a big game for us and for our season and let’s put this game behind us.”

Mikel Arteta insists there is no secret to Arsenal’s recent success as he praised his side following victory over Newcastle.

The Gunners eased to a 4-1 win at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday night to move two points off the top of the Premier League summit.

A Sven Botman own goal set them on their way before goals from Kai Havertz, Bukayo Saka and Jakub Kiwior rounded off another fine display from Arteta’s men, although the returning Joe Willock’s late header ruined another clean sheet.

Arsenal may have laboured to a narrow 1-0 defeat in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie in Porto on Wednesday – but their domestic form has been imperious.

Asked what has clicked in a run that included 6-0 and 5-0 away wins at West Ham and Burnley, respectively, before beating Newcastle, Arteta said: “We’re in a good moment. Players are performing individually, it is not any secret.

“Things are flowing. We’re scoring goals in different ways and especially we want more. When we score one, we want two, or three, or four. I love that mentality from the team.

“We train every day the best possible way and look after ourselves. First of all though, belief. Belief in yourself that you can improve and always get better. Also getting players back.

“The more players we have back, the more competition there will be in the team, the more alternatives to impact the game. Especially we have to make sure we believe we can do it.”

Jorginho returned to the Arsenal side for the game against the Magpies and put in a man-of-the-match display.

The Italy midfielder has impressed in most outings this season, but was only on the bench in Portugal.

“He’s a top player,” added Arteta. “Especially when opponents have certain behaviours and set-ups, the way I imagine the game, he was going to have a big impact.

“After, you have to do it at this level. When he’s not playing consistently, credit to him because he was magnificent again.”

Newcastle were not at the races and have now shipped 23 goals in their past eight league games.

“It is a concern,” manager Eddie Howe conceded when asked about the recent defensive record.

“Of course, we are working on things behind the scenes, but that probably was not evident in today’s performance.

“It is a combination of things, we didn’t do well from corners, knew how good they are in those situations and the third goal as well.

“We were the dominant team and we’d have been right back in the game if we’d got that goal, so difficult moments defensively.

“I don’t think we truly got going in the first half, they put us under pressure, I thought that would be just the start of the game, but at no stage did we really come out of that moment.

“We did not compete well enough which is not like us. It is something to learn from.”

Arsenal doled out another devastating Premier League defeat as they cruised past Newcastle to move two points off the top of the table.

Having thrashed West Ham and Burnley away from home, the Gunners returned to the Emirates Stadium where they easily dispatched of Eddie Howe’s side, winning 4-1 in Saturday’s late kick-off.

A Sven Botman own goal set them on their way before goals from Kai Havertz, Bukayo Saka and Jakub Kiwior rounded off another fine display from Mikel Arteta’s men, although the returning Joe Willock’s late header ruined another clean sheet.

The win, coming on the back of a galling late loss in their Champions League last-16 clash with Porto on Wednesday, moves them to within two points of leaders Liverpool and just a point shy of Manchester City in second place.

Their recent run of free-scoring performances, winning their last three games at an aggregate of 15-1, also means Arsenal boast the best goal difference in the division.

After a light show and pre-match tifo, Arsenal set the pace from the off with Declan Rice, playing in a higher role in midfield with Jorginho restored to the side, stinging the palms of Loris Karius.

They would hit the front through another set-piece, but this time in fortuitous circumstances as Karius made a great save from Gabriel Magalhaes’ powerful header, only for Tino Livramento to turn the ball home off the prone Botman in his attempts to clear off the line.

The lead was doubled soon afterwards, this time from a free-flowing move as Jorginho – in a man-of-the-match display – picked out an inch-perfect pass to Gabriel Martinelli, who crossed for Havertz to turn home unmarked from six yards out.

Arsenal should have struck again moments later as Martin Odegaard pressed and won the ball off Fabian Schar inside the Newcastle box, only for his pass into Havertz to be cleared behind for a corner.

Still Arsenal pressed and Newcastle strained, Saka coming close only for Karius to make another smart stop as the hosts went in comfortably ahead at the break.

Havertz should have grabbed his second of the night having been slipped in by Martinelli early in the second half, but he rolled his finish wide of the post.

Newcastle had failed to have a shot on target in the first half of a Premier League game for the first time in nearly a decade.

Anthony Gordon finally tested David Raya in the 49th minute before Alekander Isak fired just over the bar on another rare foray forward for the visitors.

Any hopes of a rousing comeback were soon shattered, however, as Arsenal’s third goal duly came just after the hour.

Saka was played in on the right and hit a curling shot that somehow evaded two attempts at clearances from the Newcastle defence to nestle into the corner of the net.

Things got even better for Arsenal as Kiwior’s header from a Rice corner deflected in off the unfortunate Lewis Miley.

Both sides made a host of changes but it was Newcastle who got on the scoresheet with five minutes remaining, former Arsenal youngster Willock brilliantly heading home a Dan Burn cross.

Emile Smith Rowe almost added a fifth for Arsenal late on, but Burn was in the right place to clear off the line with Karius beaten.

It was of little consequence, however, as the home side eased through the remainder of stoppage time to seal an impressive victory.

Mikel Arteta believes Premier League officiating has improved since his “strong” criticism of VAR following Arsenal’s defeat at Newcastle in November.

The Spaniard labelled the decision to allow Anthony Gordon’s goal to stand in a 1-0 loss at St James’ Park as “embarrassing” and a “disgrace”.

Arteta was later charged by the FA for breaking Rule E3.1 – which could have resulted in a ban but was instead cleared in December.

Arsenal now host Newcastle on Saturday looking to keep up the pace in the Premier League title race, as well as bounce back from their 1-0 Champions League last-16 first-leg defeat in Porto on Wednesday.

Asked if he had seen an improvement in officiating and VAR since his post-match rant – which was backed up by an official statement from the club – Arteta replied: “Well that is what we all wanted.

“That at the end the decisions are better and I think the last stats that came across show that there was a significant improvement and a lot of the decisions they were getting right, so hopefully that is the case and we continue to do that.

“I talked the way I felt. I was very straight and I did it in a way that was pretty strong but within the law because I didn’t get charged for it and I think that tells the story.”

After impressive away wins at West Ham and Burnley, Arsenal suffered defeat in Portugal on Wednesday night to leave their Champions League progression in the balance.

Porto did a great job of slowing the game down at the Estadio do Dragao, with 36 fouls awarded – a Champions League record this season – before Galeno hit a last-gasp winner.

Speaking after the game, Declan Rice said that Arsenal need to improve their “savviness” while Arteta admits his players need to develop their level of streetwise.

“Yes, we certainly can develop a lot of things and those experiences are really relevant to judge whether we were or we weren’t,” he replied when asked if the team need to improve their darks arts.

“I believed that they did a lot of things right. But managing games and things like that, we can still improve.

“But in a year’s time for sure we can still improve and we can improve in our build-up phase and we can improve in our restarts. We can improve in many areas.

“I don’t know if it is about (being) a bad guy but you have to be tricky, you have to be smart, you have to be streetwise and you have to try to take advantages in every situation. They know that.
 
“That’s a thing that has to be developed – you don’t have it, that’s for sure. The best teams, the best players, they have that.”

Arteta revealed that Thomas Partey could return on Saturday evening, with a number of other recent injury absentees pushing to be in contention.

Partey has not played since suffering a thigh injury in October, while Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko could also return – while Takehiro Tomiyasu is still out.

Arteta also offered up good news on Jurrien Timber’s return – the summer signing having been out since suffering a serious knee injury on his Premier League debut in August.

Asked if Timber could play again this season, the Spaniard said: “I really hope so. He’s doing really well.

“He’s been with some players on the pitch. He’s going to start to do some bits with us on the pitch in the next week or so.

“Then we’ll have to see how he’s doing, his confidence level, his fitness level. Hopefully the answer will be yes.”

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has insisted Manchester United will not get sporting director Dan Ashworth on the cheap.

Ashworth was placed on garden leave earlier this week after telling the club he wanted to leave St James’ Park after just 20 months to take up a similar role at Old Trafford.

New Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has made Ashworth’s recruitment a priority and has railed against suggestions that his release could cost £20million, describing the prospect of the 52-year-old facing up to 18 months in limbo under the terms of his contract with the Magpies as “completely stupid”.

Asked how important it was that the hierarchy on Tyneside got the best possible deal, head Howe coach Howe said: “In these situations, it’s about Newcastle, from our perspective.

“But that is for other people to make those decisions, I’m not involved in that in any way, shape or form. I’m preparing the team to play Arsenal.”

Ashworth’s impending departure has come as a huge blow to the Magpies’ ownership group, which lured him from Brighton to oversee its plans for a successful long-term future.

After the renowned administrator informed the club of his wish to leave, Howe, who had formed a close working relationship with the former Football Association technical director, voiced his fears over the intelligence he could take with him.

Asked if he had spoken to Ashworth this week, he said, “No” before adding, “No, that’s a lie. I have, yes”.

Although he declined to reveal what was said, Howe insisted they had parted on good terms.

Newcastle launched the search for a replacement as they confirmed Ashworth’s decision and Howe, who revealed he will have an input but not the final say, is hoping the successful candidate will prove a long-term appointment.

He said: “Ideally in that role, you are in the position for a long period of time. It’s a bit like being an academy manager, you’re not going to see the end result of your work for many years because you’re putting things in place.

“That’s the same as a sporting director. It’s a longer term role, ideally.”

In the meantime, Howe’s attention is firmly on Saturday’s trip to the Emirates Stadium and the prospect of trying to keep the Gunners and in particular in-form England international Bukayo Saka, in check.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta left St James’ furious after a 1-0 defeat on November 4 with Anthony Gordon’s winning goal surviving three different VAR checks, although his Magpies’ counterpart does not believe there is any bad blood between the clubs.

Howe said: “Mikel is a very passionate guy, he will defend his team. I am the same, I will defend my team. I like to think there is a lot of mutual respect between us both.”

Former Gunners midfielder Joe Willock could be included in the squad for the first time since suffering an Achilles injury in November, while striker Alexander Isak has a chance of returning after a three-game absence with a groin problem.

Declan Rice admits Arsenal need to find their Champions League “savvy” as Mikel Arteta’s young side continue to learn on the job.

The Gunners lost the first leg of their last 16 tie away to Porto on Wednesday night as Galeno’s brilliant last-gasp strike earned the hosts a 1-0 victory.

It extends Arsenal’s wretched record in Champions League knockout games – they still have not won outside of the group stages since 2010, having exited at the last-16 stage for seven consecutive years under Arsene Wenger.

Arteta secured a return to the top table of European football for the first time since 2017 but Arsenal’s hopes of progressing further suffered a blow at the Estadio do Dragao.

From their starting XI in Porto, only Kai Havertz had any previous experience of playing a Champions League knockout game and Rice conceded that lack of nous cost Arsenal late on.

“I think the last minute is probably a bit of inexperience,” he replied when asked if Arteta’s young team were on a steep learning curve.

“Just probably having a bit more savviness, in terms of it’s the 93rd minute, you look up at the clock, it’s 0-0, we gave a ball away on the edge of our box twice and then he bends one in the top bins.

“So we have got to have a bit of savviness to see out the game, because if you can’t win, definitely don’t lose – especially in a knockout game. But look, we are still positive. It is half-time in a two-leg tie and we will be ready for the next leg.

“You look at our team, we are such a young group. Some of us have not played in the Champions League before, so it is all about learning on the job.

“But we have to play better than we did tonight. They made it really tough, but in the second leg we will be ready to go and give it everything.

“I think it is good to have nerves – you get that experience and you need that to play in the biggest games. Whether there is nerves or no nerves, I think these are the type of games we need to learn from on the way and it is going to make us better overall.”

While the disappointment from the defeat will linger until the return leg at the Emirates Stadium on March 12, Rice knows Arsenal cannot suffer a Champions League hangover.

They are back in Premier League action as they host Newcastle on Saturday.

“Look, we have lost games this year and drawn games, and I have seen the changing room after and it’s been really bad when we have lost and drawn games,” added England international Rice.

“But here, we have just lost, but in there is a real positivity around the group at the minute, around the club.

“We have had such a good start to 2024, I think we take the positives from this game tonight, but also see where we can improve. It is going to be a big game in two weeks’ time and we will be ready for it.”

Mikel Arteta bemoaned a lack of aggression from his Arsenal side in the Champions League defeat at Porto but said it would be “cruel” to judge their return to the knockout stages on the last-gasp goal that settled the contest.

The Gunners’ hopes of reaching the quarter-finals for the first time in 14 years suffered a blow as Galeno’s fine late strike saw Porto win 1-0 in the last 16 first-leg tie.

With the second leg at the Emirates Stadium on March 12, Arteta now knows his side must win on home soil to reach the business end of the Champions League on their long-awaited return.

Arsenal, more than anyone, know there are no easy games at this stage of Europe’s elite club competition – having fallen at this hurdle seven years in a row under Arsene Wenger.

This is their first time back at this level since the last of those in 2017 and it proved much more challenging than the recent Premier League thrashings of West Ham and Burnley for a team inexperienced on these occasions – Kai Havertz the only player from the starting XI with any previous appearances in the Champions League knockout phases.

The vistiors failing to register a shot on target on a tough night at the Estadio do Dragao with Porto more than a match for the Gunners, frustrating the visitors for much of the evening and ultimately capitalising on some lapse defending to secure a late victory.

“Obviously I am very disappointed the way we gave the game away at the end,” Arteta said.

“Not managing that situation well enough. You get punished in the Champions League. If you cannot win it, you don’t lose it.

“We really dominated the game but we lacked purpose, especially in the first half. You need to have much more aggression, you need to break lines, to play forward and generate much more threat on that backline.

“We will learn from it. Now it is clear, it is half-time. If you want to be in the quarter-finals you have to beat your opponent and that will be the purpose and the plan.”

Asked if his team were naive to fall to defeat in such a way, Arteta added: “Well it’s only the last ball, so if in 94 minutes they haven’t had any naivety other than that one.

“I think it’s a bit cruel to judge it. But it’s true that it has had a big impact on the result. A lot of other things they did for the first time here were very good. When you give the ball away three times in that area – you cannot do it.”

Arteta also criticised the performance of referee Serdar Gozubuyuk, who awarded 36 fouls – the most in a Champions League game this season – and often spent time ahead of set-pieces speaking to players in the box.

“From set-pieces as well every time we touched somebody it seemed to be a foul before we even kicked the ball. But we will learn and do better,” added the Spaniard.

Porto, captained by 40-year-old Pepe, appeared much more streetwise to the task at hand, leaving head coach Sergio Conceicao happy with the result.

He said: “The team understood perfectly the spaces they had to step into to condition our opponents and also what we had to do up front to hurt them.

“It was a good game, a Champions League game. Our opponents had more of the ball, but Porto were always more dangerous.”

Victor Osimhen rescued Napoli a 1-1 home draw against Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie in his first appearance for the Italian club since December.

Osimhen, who had served a ban in Napoli’s previous game after returning from Africa Cup of Nations duty for runners-up Nigeria, stole clear in the penalty area with 15 minutes remaining to fire home an equaliser.

Barcelona had taken a deserved lead on the hour-mark through Robert Lewandowski’s 93rd Champions League goal.

It was Napoli’s first game since they sacked head coach Walter Mazzarri after three months in charge and replaced him with Slovakian Francesco Calzona.

Porto winger Galeno’s stunning stoppage-time winner clinched his side a 1-0 win against Arsenal in the first leg of their tie.

Arsenal looked set to return to London all-square after a cagey tactical battle at Estadio do Dragao, but Brazilian Galeno crashed home a shot from outside the box in the fourth minute of added time.

The Gunners, bidding to reach the tournament’s last eight for the first time since 2010, created few chances, while Galeno struck a post with a close-range effort in the first half.

Kai Havertz had Arsenal’s best two chances late in the first half, firing off target from six yards before heading Bukayo Saka’s corner just wide.

The two sides will meet in the return leg at the Emirates Stadium on March 12.

Arsenal’s hopes of reaching the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in 14 years suffered a blow as they slipped to a last-gasp defeat in the first leg of their last 16 clash in Porto.

On the eve of the tie, Mikel Arteta challenged his players to prove they belong on this stage but they laboured for large parts of the game and failed to register a shot on target throughout a largely drab affair, losing 1-0 at the death courtesy of a stunning Galeno strike.

With the second leg at the Emirates Stadium on March 12, Arteta now knows his side must win on home soil to reach the business end of the Champions League on their long-awaited return.

Arsenal, more than anyone, know there are no easy games at this stage of Europe’s elite club competition – having fallen at this hurdle seven years in a row under Arsene Wenger.

This is their first time back at this level since the last of those in 2017 and it proved much more challenging than the recent Premier League thrashings of West Ham and Burnley.

Porto currently sit third in the Primeira Liga, off the pace of their big rivals Benfica and Sporting Lisbon, but they were a match for the Gunners, frustrating the visitors for much of the evening.

Declan Rice was walking a tightrope for almost the entirety of the contest after he was booked for a late challenge on Galeno with just 67 seconds on the clock.

Arsenal were not at their recent, slick best and were very fortunate not to fall behind just before the midway point of the first half as Galeno wasted two great chances in quick succession.

After a cross dropped to him in the box, with the Brazilian fizzing a shot off the far post and then somehow turned the rebound wide for six yards – the home fans flummoxed as they celebrated along with the music that greets a goal for the hosts inside the Estadio do Dragao.

The let-off failed to rouse Arsenal from something of a slumber, but they did finally have their first shot on the evening after 33 minutes and should have taken the lead themselves soon after only for William Saliba to head a Bukayo Saka corner wide.

Porto were still the more likely to open the scoring, though, as Evanilson drew a low save out of David Raya with what proved to be the only shot on target from either side until the late winner.

Kai Havertz, who scored the winning goal in a Champions League final in this stadium for Chelsea, was next to miss the target with a header from a Saka corner.

Set-pieces certainly seemed Arsenal’s best way to goal and Leandro Trossard will feel he should have done better as he peeled off to the back post from a corner early in the second half, only to fire Rice’s centre harmlessly over.

There were no other opportunities of note until the dying embers, when Galeno collected the ball and brilliantly bent a finish over the out-stretched Raya as the whole Porto bench burst onto the pitch in celebration.

For Arsenal, they return to their Premier League title challenge knowing their backs are against the wall in their quest to progress in Europe.

Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal’s Champions League history is irrelevant and challenged his side to prove they belong at the tournament’s business end as they prepare to face Porto in the last 16.

The Gunners are back in Europe’s elite club competition for the first time in seven years but have failed to progress past this stage since 2010.

Arsenal will be firm favourites at the Estadio do Dragao on Wednesday night as Arteta looks to go further in the Champions League than he ever managed as a player at the club.

“They (the players) know that we have not been in the competition for seven years,” the Spaniard said.

“Obviously some of them were here and they know the story and they know that what happened in the past is irrelevant, it is the challenge and ambition that we have now to go through.”

Asked if he felt it was a mental block that caused Arsene Wenger’s side to fall at the last-16 hurdle so many times, Arteta replied: “Someone called (Lionel) Messi was another obstacle as well!

“And Bayern Munich that we faced twice. This competition is what it is. Individual quality is extremely important. It comes down to details and you need your players at your best when the occasion arises.”

Arteta’s young squad had very little Champions League experience heading into a group stage they dominated, winning four games and progressing as winners with a fixture to spare.

Now the knockout stages present another chance for both manager and team to prove they belong at this level.

“We don’t have the experience, that’s the reality – 95 per cent of these players haven’t played this competition, they haven’t played the last 16.

“I haven’t (managed at this stage). But they have so much energy and enthusiasm to play well and that’s our desire and how we’re going to play the game.

“It’s great. We have earned the right to be here. It’s been seven years since we’ve been at the top table for these kind of matches and 14 years since we were able to go to the next stage.

“That’s the challenge. We know what is ahead of us, but we are very excited to face it and to go for it with full belief, that’s for sure.”

An extra incentive for Arsenal to banish past ghosts is the prospect of going all the way to just their second Champions League final, with Wembley playing host to the showpiece event this year.

“It should be incredible to have that feeling to lift that cup, in London, the first of June. It is there,” added Arteta.

“It is in our minds. It is a dream, but there are a lot of things you have to earn the right to do before that and tomorrow we have a big obstacle ahead of us. We are really looking forward to it.”

Martin Odegaard says Arsenal must harness their growing momentum as they target a Premier League and Champions League double.

Saturday’s 5-0 win at Burnley meant the Gunners have kicked off a calendar year with five straight league wins for the first time in their history.

Arteta’s second-placed side are two points behind leaders Liverpool and now turn their attention to European action.

Arsenal face Porto in Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 first leg and skipper Odegaard believes they are capable of going for the double.

Asked if they have the squad to compete on two fronts, the Norway international said: “That’s what we want to do, we want to compete in every competition we play in.

“Of course Champions League is a massive one, so we are excited for it.

“We just want to focus on ourselves each game, keep improving every game and we will see how it goes.

“We are in a good moment now. We have to use that momentum, keep building on it and we will see.”

Arsenal have won five on the trot and scored 21 in the process, having followed up last weekend’s 6-0 win at West Ham with a five-star performance at Burnley.

“I think that’s what we were missing a little bit in the last few weeks before the break – we created so much but we didn’t score the goals,” Odegaard said.

“But within the last few games, we’ve been brilliant in front of goal.

“We get so many people in the box and so many situations around the box. So yeah, it’s been brilliant.”

Odegaard’s opener set the tone at Turf Moor, where Bukayo Saka then scored a brace before Leandro Trossard and Kai Havertz rounded things off.

That freescoring form has quietened those that had called for Arsenal to buy an out-and-out striker in January.

Summer signing Havertz, who scored his sixth goal for Arsenal on Saturday, said: “I think we all trust ourselves and we know what quality we all have.

“You know, we have to give trust to each other and that’s what we’ve done.

“It’s not only because of the strikers that you don’t score goals, defenders can score goals for us and stuff like that. That’s so important.

“You know it’s not the end now. We keep being focused because I know you guys after one game without five goals you’re going to write we need a striker!

“So, we just work hard, enjoy ourselves on the pitch and that’s what we did today.”

Bukayo Saka is targeting his first Arsenal hat-trick after the in-form winger scored braces in back-to-back emphatic away wins for Mikel Arteta’s title challengers.

The 22-year-old and his team-mates are in electric form and followed up last weekend’s 6-0 win at West Ham by battering Burnley 5-0 on Saturday.

Saka scored a spot-kick and a goal from an open play in each of those emphatic triumphs but the academy graduate’s wait for a first Arsenal hat-trick goes on.

“I’m really pleased,” Saka said after the Gunners’ Turf Moor triumph. “I’m enjoying my football, but obviously I need to keep focused.

“But yeah, of course I’m happy to score two, two weeks in a row and hopefully the third one will come soon.

“It’s coming. It’s coming, but I need to be patient!”

Saka’s only senior hat-trick to date came at Old Trafford last June in England’s 7-0 victory against North Macedonia in a Euro 2024 qualifier.

The winger is likely to have a starring role for his country in Germany at the end of a season that all connected to the north London club hope ends in memorable fashion.

Arsenal are vying for the title and currently sit second, two points behind leaders Liverpool, having started a year with five straight league wins for the first time in club history.

“It was a lot of fun out there,” Saka told club media. “I really enjoyed it and it’s nice to see the fans coming up with new chants and stuff. I just loved it, so I enjoyed it.

“The boss has told us we’re the first Arsenal team to win five in a row at the start of the year, so it’s a nice achievement and we’ll definitely build momentum going forward.”

Arsenal have scored 21 goals in that five-game winning run and will look to take that form into the Champions League at Porto in Wednesday’s last-16 first leg.

“I think it’s really good,” Saka said of the Gunners’ free-scoring form.

“Definitely now that, not only that I’m playing well, the team’s playing well and we’re scoring a lot of goals because we’ve got some really important fixtures coming up, starting on Wednesday and I can’t wait to go there.

“I’m really excited. So yeah, looking forward to it and hopefully we can take this form into that game as well.”

While all connected to Arsenal left Turf Moor with a smile on their face, the home fans’ mood reflected the grim Lancashire weather on Saturday.

Vincent Kompany’s side’s hopes of survival are fading fast as Burnley turn their attention to next weekend’s trip to Crystal Palace.

Skipper Josh Brownhill said: “We’ve just got to review that game, the stuff that we can do better and work on that for this week.

“We’ve got a great chance to go away to Palace and put in a performance.

“But it’s the Premier League, you can’t expect any result in this division. They’re a good team, especially at home.

“They’ve got some really quality players so it’s not going to be easy at all.

“It’s one that we’re going to have to have a big week and go into that game and get our confidence back, that belief back and go on and put on a show.”

Mikel Arteta was delighted by his players’ unquenchable drive for more goals and wins after Arsenal racked up their fifth Premier League win in a row at relegation-threatened Burnley.

The north Londoners are in the middle of a tough title tussle and kept the pressure on both Liverpool and Manchester City by running amok at Turf Moor.

Martin Odegaard opening the scoring inside four minutes at embattled Burnley, where Bukayo Saka’s brace was complemented by Leandro Trossard and Kai Havertz efforts in a 5-0 win.

Saturday’s five-star performance followed on from last weekend’s 6-0 shellacking of West Ham, leaving boss Arteta delighted by his players’ hunger and drive for more.

“Really happy with the performance, with the result and the individual and collective contribution of each player as well,” the Arsenal boss said. “That was very, very good.

“And the fact that the team looked like it wanted more. It wasn’t satisfied.

“They wanted to score more, they didn’t want to concede a goal. I’m really pleased to hit that consistency.”

Asked if the domination has pleased him more than the goals recently, Arteta said: “Yeah. We want to dominate games and play in the opponent’s half as much as possible.

“I think the threat, the purpose, the activity and the connections of the players are flowing and they really want it.

“We have momentum now and we have to maintain it.

“Now we leave the Premier League, we go to Porto which will be a really tough environment, so just prepare to play well again and be ourselves.”

Arsenal head to Portugal for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday buoyed by yet another comprehensive victory on the road.

Arteta praised confident skipper Odegaard after Saturday’s triumph, so too Saka after the homegrown star scored in four straight top-flight games for the first time in his career.

Put to the Arsenal boss that the forward has the maturity of a senior player despite only being 22, he said: “Yes, we don’t really see it (in football).

“Especially forward players and wingers with that level of consistency and numbers.

“At his age it is something really strange to find but it is not a coincidence when you look at him every single day.

“The way he trains, the way he applies himself, the qualities that he has. And he can do more.”

The heavy loss means embattled Burnley still only have managed five points at Turf Moor this season, leaving them staring down the barrel of relegation.

Burnley assistant Craig Bellamy was in the dugout against Arsenal as Vincent Kompany served a touchline ban and the Clarets boss did not like what he saw from the stands.

“Just not good enough,” Kompany said. “Arsenal were better than us in every department today. It’s a tough one to take on the chin.

“You look back at probably the last 10 to 15 games and we were always able to draw on positives from the game.

“Today’s one you have to take on the chin and probably say less and make sure that you get the energy back in the team for the next game because that’s all we’ve got to focus on now.

“You do get days like this sometimes and when you do and where we are in the league, you get punished and the gap shows then.”

Burnley return to action at Crystal Palace next weekend, when midfielder Aaron Ramsey will surely be absent having left on a stretcher with a nasty-looking knee injury.

“It didn’t look good,” Kompany added. “I can only hope for it not to be as bad as it looked and for him to hopefully have a speedy recovery.”

Page 1 of 72
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.