Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta insisted there were no hard feelings on his part towards Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after the Gunners battled to north London derby glory without their captain.

Martin Odegaard's first Premier League goal for Arsenal and a second-half penalty from Alexandre Lacazette gave Arteta's men a 2-1 win over Tottenham, who turned in a meek display either side of a phenomenal rabona opener from Erik Lamela, who was later sent off.

Lacazette only started because Aubameyang fell foul of Arsenal's pre-match protocols, with the Gabon forward an unused substitute at Emirates Stadium.

Nevertheless, Arteta said the problem – reported to be a time-keeping issue – is already something to be forgotten about.

"He is an incredible guy and one of the most important players in the team," he told Sky Sports.

"He is our captain and these things happen. We have lots going on in our lives and people finding it hard with the restrictions.

"I will never tell anything that happens in the dressing room."

Arsenal failed to convince during the closing stages as Harry Kane had a header disallowed for offside and fired a free-kick against the post.

"Going 1-0 down the way we were playing was disappointing and worst-case scenario against a team like Spurs. But we kept playing and deserve the win," Arteta said,

"The last 10 minutes we did not manage the game and we need to improve as a team. We relied on luck. With the way we played we should have seen it out comfortably."

Arteta, who is the third consecutive Arsenal boss to win his first home league meeting with Spurs, following Arsene Wenger and Unai Emery, added: "We had some really strong performances today.

"You could see the energy they were playing with."It is about how you react. This team have the reaction in them to not give up. We kept playing and generating chances and got rewarded."

Alexandre Lacazette's second-half penalty proved decisive as Arsenal beat Tottenham 2-1 to dent the top-four hopes of Spurs, who saw goalscorer Erik Lamela sent off.

Arsenal's preparations for the game were by no means ideal as Mikel Arteta revealed pre-match that captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had been dropped for disciplinary reasons, reportedly relating to tardiness, but the Gunners were the better side from start to finish and deserved the points.

It looked like being a grating day for them after seeing Emile Smith Rowe and Cedric Soares denied by the woodwork either side of Lamela's quite remarkable breakthrough goal.

But Martin Odegaard restored parity on the stroke of half-time and Lacazette completed the turnaround from the spot in the second period to move Arsenal back to within four points of their seventh-placed rivals, with Lamela's dismissal 14 minutes from time hampering Tottenham in their late rally.

Spurs struggled to get out of their own half during the early exchanges and were fortunate to remain on level terms when Smith Rowe's dipping 25-yard strike hit the crossbar, while they lost Son Heung-min to injury soon after.

But Tottenham finally showed some attacking intent just past the half-hour mark and it led to their remarkable opener, Lucas Moura teeing up Lamela – Son's replacement – to produce a 'rabona' finish that went through Thomas Partey's legs and found the bottom-right corner.

Arsenal's frustration amped up as Cedric was the next Gunner to be denied by the frame of the goal, but a deserved equaliser did arrive just before the break when Odegaard turned in Kieran Tierney's cross with the aid of a deflection.

The hosts continued to control proceedings but had been struggling to break Spurs down before winning their penalty just after the hour – Davinson Sanchez clumsily fouling Lacazette after the Frenchman had unsuccessfully swiped at the bouncing ball.

Lacazette coolly converted the resulting spot-kick and Spurs' hopes suffered a major blow when Lamela caught Tierney in the face with a stray arm to earn him a second yellow card.

Late scares saw a Harry Kane header ruled out for offside and the same man hit the base of the post from a free-kick, but Arsenal held on to end their five-match winless run in the derby.

Tottenham have one of the most "special" attacking forces in European football, according to Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.

Spurs travel to face their north London derby rivals in the Premier League's headline fixture on Sunday, with Jose Mourinho's team having a seven-point cushion on the Gunners.

Both teams were in Europa League action on Thursday, Spurs beating Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 while Arsenal overcame Olympiacos 3-1 in Greece.

However, while Arsenal's domestic form remains inconsistent, Mourinho's men are back in the hunt for, at the very least, Europa League qualification after a run of three straight league wins.

While Spurs' defensive approach took them to the top of the table in November before a capitulation in the middle of the campaign, Mourinho seems to have struck a balance once more, which is getting the best out of the attacking talent at his disposal.

Harry Kane has been in sensational form, scoring 16 goals and providing 13 assists in this Premier League campaign to date, while Gareth Bale has also come to the fore in recent weeks, having a hand in six goals in his last four appearances in the competition (four goals, two assists).

The Welshman has also netted five Premier League goals against Arsenal in his career, more than he has scored against any other side in the competition.

Son Heung-min and Kane, meanwhile, have continued their brilliant relationship. In the 4-0 win over Crystal Palace last week, Son teed up Kane's second goal.

It means the duo have set a new single-season Premier League record after combining for a 14th goal in 2020-21, while that win also took Tottenham to 100 goals for the season in all competitions – a mark only previously reached by Bayern Munich across Europe's 'top five' leagues.

Son and Kane combined to cast aside Arsenal 2-0 in the reverse fixture in December, with the latter now the leading goalscorer in north London derby history, with 11 goals.

"[It's going to be] very difficult because the level of quality, precision, understanding and chemistry they have between them makes them probably one of the most special teams in Europe," Arteta told Arsenal's official website.

"They don't need much. They are able to create their own chances, they are able to link as a team. So it's really difficult to do that, but we'll prepare the game well to try to stop them, obviously."

With Spurs looking deadly in front of goal, Arteta stressed the importance of cutting out defensive mistakes which, in the last two matches, have resulted in goals.

Granit Xhaka's blunder against Burnley enabled Chris Wood to snatch a point for the Clarets, with Dani Ceballos taking his tally of errors leading directly to goals in the Europa League to two (no player has made more in that competition this season) when he was dispossessed by Youssef El-Arabi on Thursday.

"The amount of chances we are conceding has been really low, but the amount of chances we have given to opponents has had a big impact in the goals that we have conceded," said Arteta.

"It depends on us a bit which is a really positive thing. But we know that it's something we need to eradicate to be more consistent with results."

Mikel Arteta demanded Arsenal cut out their defensive mistakes, despite being thrilled with the overall performance of his team against Olympiacos in the Europa League.

Arsenal took a big stride towards the Europa League quarter-finals as they ran out 3-1 winners in the first leg of their last-16 tie in Athens, thanks to late goals from Gabriel and Mohamed Elneny on Thursday.

Martin Odegaard's stunner – his first goal for Arsenal after joining from Real Madrid on loan – put the Gunners ahead, but a mix up between Bernd Leno and Dani Ceballos, who has now made two errors leading to goals in the Europa League this season (no player has made more), allowed Olympiacos to equalise.

Ceballos' mistake follows on from Granit Xhaka's error against Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday, though manager Arteta insisted there is no issue with Arsenal's system, but rather the timing of their passes out from the back.

"We started the game really well, very dominant, created a lot of chances, we could have scored two or three at least in the first half, but we gave them two chances," he told BT Sport.

"We gave them the goal, trying to play out from the back, but we reacted really well.

"Overall, positive things, really positive performances but we have to stop making the errors that are costing goals, because we cannot sustain that at this level.

"It's not concentration, it's about when you play the ball. It's not about structure, decision making, it's about when you play the ball, it makes a whole difference."

Arteta, though, claimed his team cannot play with any fear.

"It's not about stopping the way we play, because this is us and we get our rewards by identifying when we do it and how we have to do it," he added.

"The worst that we can do is get the structure to play, but then have too much fear to play. That's a bad mistake to do that."

Arsenal were worthy winners – the Gunners had 18 shots, compared to six from Greek hosts Olympiacos, and eight of them were on target, while Arteta's side also enjoyed 61.5 per cent possession.

The Gunners have won eight of their nine Europa League games this season – drawing the other – and are the highest scorers in the competition so far this term (27 goals), but Arteta explained the next step is to put in a complete performance.

"We were really dominant. We showed our personality to come here and dominate the game," he said.

"The next step is to do that for 90 minutes and give absolutely nothing to the opponent – we are not there yet. 

"We have some of the best moments that we've played this season, understanding the spaces, the quality, the rhythm, the way we attacked the spaces. How we linked with each other, it was great. We need to keep doing it and do it for longer periods."

Odegaard was particularly impressive in the number 10 role, crafting a game-high four chances and had four attempts – more than any other player.

"It's a great result, three goals away from home and a win in this competition is always big," the Madrid loanee told BT Sport.

"The way we struck back after the goal we conceded, and the mentality of this team – I'm really pleased with everything.

"It showed the spirit in the team, the way we back each other. We knew we had to get a goal. That's what it's about – being a team. When one player makes a mistake, you have to strike back as a team and that's what we did today."

Mikel Arteta insists Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang still has much more to give to Arsenal despite a recent improvement in his performances.

The Gunners captain has only scored nine times in the Premier League this season, a marked reduction from the 44 he managed across the previous two campaigns.

Aubameyang scored just twice in 14 appearances in all competitions from mid-September to the middle of December, but his form in front of goal has improved of late, the Gabon international having netted eight times in his most recent nine outings.

Manager Arteta is happy with Aubameyang's improvement but believes there is more to come from the player.

"Obviously, the stats are much better and related to who he is and what he needs to bring to the team," Arteta told reporters ahead of Thursday's Europa League last-16 first leg against Olympiacos.

"But still, I think he could score many more and he could do better in other aspects. He needs to keep having that mentality and he has that mentality.

"We need players performing at their maximum. When Auba is in a much better place, obviously the team will be in a much better place because at the end, things are decided in both boxes, and what he can produce in the opponents' box has an incredible impact for our team.

"In big moments, you need to have big players performing and making the difference. It looks like, at this moment, he's firing, he's happy, physically he's in a good moment and he's full of confidence."

With Arsenal 10th in the Premier League table and with their FA Cup defence having been ended by Southampton, the Europa League represents their best chance of a trophy and a way back into the Champions League for next season.

Having announced a £47million loss last week amid the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, European football could be critical to Arteta's chances of putting together a squad capable of challenging England's best again.

Despite the potentially tricky year to come, Arteta is confident a major turning point is coming in Arsenal's modern history.

"I want a sustainable club. We all want a club that can be run with their own resources. It is great we have the support from our owners," he said.

"We have had that in the summer when it was much needed because of everything that has happened with COVID and what happened at the club in the last three years without the Champions League and the hit that that took.

"But our responsibility and everything we are planning for the future is for this club to go back to being sustainable on its own and being all the time as strong as possible in every department and the financial department is crucial as well.

"I think this project is going to go 'bang'. This is where we are, but sometimes it is difficult to see the moment now but I'm sure where we are going.

"We have created a really strong group, a really strong bond with our players, with our fans, with our staff and that is going to pay big in the future.

"You need to win to convince anybody that you are doing a good job in the club and taking them in the right direction.

"If you are not inside the club every day and know exactly what is going on within the club, the only way to convince anybody is to win."

Mikel Arteta has heaped praise on Martin Odegaard for how he has started at Arsenal, calling the midfielder's effort "phenomenal".

Odegaard joined Arsenal on loan from Real Madrid towards the end of the January transfer window.

He is yet to register a goal or an assist in eight outings for the Gunners, prompting former players like Martin Keown and Nigel Winterburn to criticise his start.

But Arteta has been highly impressed by the 22-year-old and is thrilled with how well he has settled, amid speculation over whether Arsenal will opt to pursue a permanent move.

"I'm really happy with him," said Arteta. "I think he has settled really, really quickly into the team and with what we demand from the players. 

"His behaviour, his attitude and his work rate has been phenomenal. 

"He has had better moments than others during games to give us the special qualities he has, but overall, I'm really happy with him."

One of the players Odegaard is battling with for selection is emerging attacking midfielder Emile Smith Rowe.

Smith Rowe has been out of action with a hip injury for the last 10 days but might be back in time to face Olympiacos in the Europa League last-16 first leg on Thursday.

"He is going to have a full session [on Wednesday] to see if he can be involved for [Thursday's] game," said Arteta.

"After training, we will know exactly where we are with him."

The tie will see Arsenal come up against former player Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who joined Olympiacos on a two-year deal in January.

Arteta added ahead of the away first leg: "I am looking forward to seeing Papa, he is such a good character and a very popular player here. 

"He was liked and loved by everybody. It was a pleasure to work with him, such a pro. 

"It is true he knows what we try to do, but there isn’t a magic formula. I’m sure he will try to do his best and we will do the same."

Arsenal and Olympiacos have previously met on 10 occasions across all European competitions, with no encounter ending level and both teams winning five times each.

Greek champions Olympiacos dumped Arsenal out of the Europa League last season at the last-32 stage.

The Gunners are hoping to avoid back-to-back eliminations suffered at the hands of the same side, which last happened to them in 2012-13 and 2013-14 against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Granit Xhaka has received the backing of team-mates past and present after his calamitous error against Burnley.

The Swiss midfielder was at fault for the Clarets' leveller in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Turf Moor, directing an attempted pass into the midriff of Chris Wood, with the ball diverting into the net.

Since the start of the 2016-17 season, Xhaka has made eight errors leading to goals in the top flight, which is more than any other outfield Premier League player.

He looked set to head into Thursday's Europa League clash at Olympiacos with criticism ringing in his ears, having felt compelled to issue an apology on Instagram.

But the 28-year-old has since been showered with praise by Thomas Partey and ex-Gunner Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who is now with Olympiacos.

"I think he's a great player," said Partey. "We all know he works hard for the club, he works hard for his team-mates when he's on the pitch.

"As we all know in football, you never know when you're going to have a bad day and that's part of it.

"We have to keep raising each other, keep fighting for each other and that's how we're going to have a good game and win matches.

"All the players know what we have to do when we play together. It doesn't matter who we play with, we have to do our best and win games."

Striking a similar tone to Partey, Sokratis – who joined Arsenal in 2018 and left in January this year – offered a glowing tribute to his former team-mate.

"Granit is one of the best team-mates I've had the pleasure of working with," Sokratis told Football London.

"He's a very important player for Arsenal and I believe that he's a good player who can be a leader in the team.

"When you make one mistake everybody will go against you, but I know Granit's character. Before the Burnley game he played five or six games where he was probably the best player in the team.

"I think he's one of Arsenal's best players and certainly one of the best midfielders that I've played with."

In between Arsenal's two-legged round-of-16 clash with Olympiacos, Mikel Arteta's side have the small matter of Sunday's north London derby with Tottenham.

Mikel Arteta concedes the next week will be "massive" in determining the success of Arsenal's season and wants his players to ignore any criticism coming their way.

Arsenal visit Olympiacos in the last 16 of the Europa League on Thursday, with Arteta hoping the Gunners can gain revenge.

They were beaten on away goals by the Greek side in the last 32 of last season's competition.

The tournament represents the Gunners' best chance of reaching next year's Champions League, with them having slumped to 10th in the Premier League.

A key week will also see Arsenal face rivals Tottenham in the north London derby on Sunday, before the return leg against Olympiacos.

Arsenal also face West Ham in another London derby before the international break and Arteta knows the pressure is on.

"The players have to focus on performing as good as possible and try to do their best on the pitch," Arteta said. 

"That criticism with where it is coming from with which intentions is something that they must not pay attention to because they cannot control.

"The better we do individually and the better we do collectively, things are going to work better and that's the responsibility they have all the time when they jump on that pitch.

"Obviously, it's a massive week for us, we have four very important games coming up and we need to win all of them. That is our reality and this is how we are going to approach it.

"But we are talking about [it being a decisive week] every week."

Arteta reflected on the Olympiacos loss last year, which saw Arsenal beaten 2-1 at home in the final moments of extra time in the second leg, having earned a 1-0 away win in the opening clash.

"Well obviously, it was a really tough one to swallow," he said.

"The way it happened at the end was really cruel after everything we did in the two games to lose it the way we did it and with the last chance that Auba [Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang] had. 

"But we moved on. Obviously, we have some feeling towards that team and we want to put it right.

"Emotionally it really drained us because it was a rollercoaster during the game and with what happened, it could have ended in a beautiful way, but it ended in a really harsh way for us. 

"I think emotionally it took some time to get the team and some individuals lifted because it really hurt.

"We have the two games to look at and everything that happened in those two games. The disappointment that we had to digest, and it took some time to do that because it was a hard one. We had a lot of faith and enthusiasm in the competition, and we were knocked out.

"And now we have another opportunity. It's the beauty of this game. It's a completely different context but the reality is the same that we have to beat them twice to go through in the competition and we have to be better than them.

"They are coming from playing in the Champions League. They played against City two really good games as well so it will be a really tough opponent.

"It's a team that is used to playing in all those competitions and they beat us last year. It doesn't matter the manner but they did it last year so we have to be better than last year to beat them now."

Mikel Arteta bemoaned a controversial penalty call that went against Arsenal in Saturday's action-packed 1-1 draw with Burnley.

The Gunners – who led through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but were pegged back after Granit Xhaka's woeful attempted pass hit Chris Wood and flew in – were denied two spot-kicks late on at Turf Moor, but it was the first incident which irked Arteta.

Clarets substitute Erik Pieters appeared to handle the ball but referee Andre Marriner was unmoved by the visitors' appeals and was given no signal to award a spot-kick by VAR.

Marriner did point to the spot for a different incident in which the industrious Pieters deflected Nicolas Pepe's effort over the crossbar, but the Dutchman – who had been shown a red card – was reprieved after a VAR review.

Reflecting on what he will surely feel were two points dropped, Arteta was somewhat bemused by the decisions that did not go his way.

"It's a really tough place to come on a difficult pitch, but I have to say we should have scored the big chances we had," he said, having seen Dani Ceballos strike the post deep into stoppage time amid a host of missed opportunities. 

"When you miss the chances we had, and you do not get decisions, it is complicated to win football games. If that is not a penalty, then someone needs to explain what one is.

"From what we produced, you have to come here and win. When you do not, you have to look at yourself. We completely dominated the first half but they make it difficult with a lot of long balls.

"We generated chances and we should have won by two or three goals. if you give any hope to any team in the Premier League, they are going to take it."

VAR has been the subject of much controversy, but in Burnley boss Sean Dyche the technology has an ardent supporter.

"I'm a fan of VAR, we know it has to be streamlined but that is where it's worth it's weight in gold," he said, expressing his gratitude that it overturned Pieters' punishment.

"The referee couldn't wait to get his red card out today, although he is a very fine referee. That is what VAR is for."

Arsenal will head into a crunch spell in their season on the back of a chaotic 1-1 Premier League draw at Burnley after Granit Xhaka's blunder on Saturday.

Mikel Arteta's side, who had an 85th-minute penalty taken away after a VAR review, face a two-legged Europa League last-16 showdown with Olympiacos either side of next Sunday's north London derby.

And they will tackle that run of games knowing their top-four hopes are all but gone, with silverware and local bragging rights providing their primary motivation.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whose own goal handed Burnley a 1-0 win over 10-man Arsenal at Emirates Stadium in December, capitalised on some slack defending to put the visitors ahead after just six minutes at Turf Moor.

Burnley drew level in fortuitous circumstances before half-time, Xhaka – the man sent off in the reverse fixture – attempting a pass inside his own area that hit Chris Wood's hip and flew in.

It was punishment for the Gunners' profligacy, with Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka having missed chances to increase their lead. Arteta was left to reflect on two points dropped after referee Andre Marriner had to reverse the decision to award a late penalty when Erik Pieters brilliantly kept out Nicolas Pepe's volley, with time still left for Dani Ceballos to hit the post.

Arsenal were quick out of the blocks and Aubameyang took full advantage of Burnley's meek resistance inside the box before his low effort beat Nick Pope at his near post despite the goalkeeper getting a hand to it.

Burnley, seeking a first league double over Arsenal since 1962-63, should have fallen two behind midway through the half but Saka, on his 50th Premier League appearance, prodded wide after the ball fell kindly for him six yards out.

Instead, Sean Dyche's side were level at the break as Arsenal's attempts to play out from the back went calamitously wrong when Xhaka tried to pick out David Luiz and instead hit the ball straight into Wood's midriff.

Ben Mee and James Tarkowski each made excellent blocks to thwart Saka in the early stages of the second half as Arsenal continued to enjoy the majority of the chances.

Seeking inspiration from his bench, Arteta brought on Alexandre Lacazette inside the final half an hour, but Burnley then went close to a winner when Pieters – who had already survived one penalty shout after an apparent handball – had a dipping volley tipped over by Bernd Leno, who then denied Wood one-on-one.

There was late drama when Pepe's strike was deflected over by the industrious Pieters, with Marriner pointing to the spot and sending off the Dutchman before a VAR review showed the defender had somehow kept the ball out with his shoulder, while Ceballos cracked a shot against the upright as the spoils were shared.

What does it mean? Gunners' top-four hopes fading

Inconsistency has plagued Arsenal this season, with 11 wins and 11 losses underlining that fact. This draw – their fifth of the top-flight campaign – leaves them nine points shy of fourth-placed Chelsea.

Arteta's men surely have little chance of overhauling that deficit, meaning the Europa League offers their best chance to earn a spot at European football's top table.

Clarets nemesis Aubameyang strikes again

This was Aubameyang's eighth goal against the Clarets, making them his favourite victims in the Premier League. Only against Hamburg (9) has he netted more league goals in the top five European leagues.

The Gabon striker also became the fifth Arsenal player to score an own goal and a regular goal against a specific team in a Premier League campaign.

Granit crumbles under pressure

It is the modern way to work the ball out diligently from the back, but it requires cool heads and smart execution, of which Xhaka showed neither when he was at fault for Burnley's farcical leveller.

Perhaps Leno should have cleared the ball in the first instance, but when Xhaka received the pass from his goalkeeper he had options besides booting the ball at Wood. Since the start of the 2016-17 campaign, no outfield player has made more errors leading to goals in the Premier League than Xhaka's tally of eight.

As for Burnley, they need 10 more points to hit the 40 mark that relegation battlers tend to target.

What's next?

Arsenal have a huge week ahead, with a trip to Olympiacos in the Europa League on Thursday before the north London derby with Spurs. Burnley, meanwhile, head to Everton next Saturday.

Mikel Arteta has declared his Arsenal team remain nowhere near his vision for what they can become.

A hint of improvement in the Gunners ranks has seen them lose just once of their past five games, a 1-0 defeat to Premier League leaders Manchester City.

They scraped past Benfica in the Europa League thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's late winner in the second leg and followed that up with an eye-catching 3-1 victory at Leicester City.

But Arteta has not been blinded to his team's weaknesses by those results, and he feels they remain a long way from his idea of how they could shape up.

"Very far – very, very far," he said.

"There's still a lot to improve, a lot of quality to add. [We need to be] much more efficient in decision-making; much quicker to open situations up when advantages are there; many situations to feel when advantages [can be] obtained.

"More control of games; more defensive actions in the opponent's half; fewer giveaways in our own half; more clean sheets. More goals to score, more creativity. A lot to do."

Arteta left his role on Pep Guardiola's Manchester City staff in December 2019 to take the Arsenal top job.

While City look to be hurtling to another Premier League title, Arsenal headed into Saturday's game against Burnley sitting 10th in the table – 10 points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

"When you look at the league table it is not acceptable," Arteta said. "We are Arsenal Football Club and we should be nowhere near here. If somebody is happy with that, he is in the wrong place."

Emile Smith Rowe has all the attributes and qualities required to play for England having been phenomenal for Arsenal this season, according to Mikel Arteta.  

After getting a taste of first-team action at Arsenal in the previous two seasons, as well as spending time out on loan at RB Leipzig and Huddersfield Town, the midfielder has enjoyed a meteoric rise in recent months.  

Smith Rowe had not even featured in the Premier League before Arteta included him in the starting XI for the Boxing Day win over Chelsea.  

Since then, however, he has been involved in every league fixture for the Gunners, making 11 starts as well as an appearance as a substitute in the 1-0 home loss to Manchester City last month. 

His involvement against Leicester City last Sunday was cut short by a hip injury Arteta hopes is not too significant, considering the player has gone from peripheral figure to key cog, leading to speculation over an England call up.

With his club boss having no doubts whatsoever over the 20-year-old's talent and temperament, with Smith Rowe potentially set to follow Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka in making the step up to Gareth Southgate’s full squad after playing international football at youth level.  

However, there is still plenty of room for improvement too – particularly when it comes to adding goals to his game.  

Asked if Smith Rowe could be selected by England for their trio of World Cup qualifiers in March, Arteta replied: "I think it's possible. If he shows the same determination as Bukayo, be as humble as he is and play with the personality he has done, he has a great chance." 

"Emile has got all the attributes, all the qualities that you need to play for this football club and, in my opinion, for the national team.   

"I'm talking about finding the consistency level that is required, because that level is as good as it gets. But I think he has shown in moments this season what he can do. It's now about doing it for longer periods.  

"I think for us, it's more goals, being a threat all the time and working as hard as he has been doing, because I think he has been phenomenal for us."

Smith Rowe's emergence at Emirates Stadium provides a further option for Southgate, particularly with the delayed Euro 2020 tournament to come at the end of a hectic season for top-flight clubs.  

Jack Grealish impressed for England during the previous international break towards the end of 2020, though the Aston Villa playmaker is currently sidelined due to injury. Still, his tally of 10 assists in the Premier League this term demonstrates his creative abilities - only Kevin De Bruyne (11) has managed more when it comes to midfielders playing in the competition.  

Phil Foden scored twice in the 4-0 win over Iceland last November, a game that saw Mason Mount selected from the start. James Ward-Prowse was forced to withdraw from the squad as a precautionary measure, while there was no room for James Maddison, another currently out of action. 

Yet Smith Rowe has numbers that stack up in comparison to his potential rivals for a spot, creating four assists for Arsenal in his 12 league outings while completing 87.32 per cent of his passes (only Foden – at 87.65 - has a better pass success rate for English midfielders who have made 10 appearances and provided at least two assists in the Premier League).  

As Arteta pointed out, posing a greater goal threat - Smith Rowe has scored just once in the campaign so far – would further enhance his case. 

It may well be that this year's European Championship comes too soon, but Southgate at least has another name to consider in an already crowded position, not just for now but also for the long term.

Arsenal are "really happy" with Alexandre Lacazette and contract talks will take place soon, according to manager Mikel Arteta.

Lacazette has just over one year left on his contract and has been regularly tipped as a candidate to leave the Gunners at the end of the season.

Arsenal would need to sell Lacazette then if they were to recoup a meaningful transfer fee for him, but while Arteta refused to rule out that possibility, he was positive about the forward.

Lacazette netted from the penalty spot in the comeback win at Leicester City on Sunday. He has 11 goals in all competitions this season and 59 since he signed from Lyon in 2017.

"He's got a contract with us," Arteta said about the 29-year-old striker.

"He played really well the other week. It's exactly what we demand him to do.

"I'm really happy with him and the discussions about his contract will happen soon and we will see what happens."

Arteta was asked if Lacazette would end up staying like captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang did after an intense period of contract negotiations.

The manager, who also insisted he remains focused on Arsenal amid speculation linking him with the Barcelona job, added: "Well, I'm hoping that a player under contract will continue with us. 

"Every case is going to be different and we will continue to assess that and we will make decisions relating to that."

Another pressing issue for Arsenal is the future of another striker, Folarin Balogun.

The highly rated 19-year-old prospect is out of contract at the end of this season but Arteta disagreed with a suggestion the player was distancing himself from the club.

Arteta said: "I wouldn't say so. I am pretty positive about it.

"Every time I spoke to him, he mentions the same thing, that he's determined to stay here and he wants to stay here. 

"He has some really positive conversations with his agent as well and Edu is in charge of that. 

"He's been spending a lot of time and energy to make that deal happen because it’s important for us to keep our talent in the house.

"What we can guarantee is that we are doing everything we can to keep him."

Arsenal will be seeking a third consecutive victory in all competitions when they travel to play Burnley on Saturday.

Fresh from wins over Benfica and Leicester, they take on a Burnley team who sit just five points above the bottom three.

But Arteta is expecting a tough test, with Burnley having won at the Emirates Stadium in December.

"It is always a really tough match," he said. 

"I think it's remarkable what the club, Sean [Dyche] and the coaching staff have done in recent years with the resources that they have, the style of play they have implemented and how well they execute it and how efficient they are.

"At home it was a tricky game because we played with 10 men and we ended up losing on a set piece, which is a big part of the game, so hopefully we can have a very different result.

"From my side, they merit much more credit for what they do than what they sometimes get.

"It's admiration as a coach that he's able to get the best out of that group of players, the results that they have as a club, to create the atmosphere that they do at that stadium.

"That is really nice for the English Premier League."

In a positive team news update, Arteta revealed Emile Smith Rowe's injury suffered against Leicester "does not look significant" and that everyone else was fit.

Pep Guardiola's Manchester City will not be considered the Premier League's best-ever team until they complete a clean sweep of trophies including the Champions League, according to Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta.

City equalled their club record unbeaten run of 28 matches when they beat Wolves 4-1 on Tuesday, which was also their 21st successive win across all competitions.

This remarkable form has seen them open up a gaping 15-point lead over second-placed Manchester United, whom they play this weekend – though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men can reduce that slightly when they play Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

Nevertheless, City are romping clear and only a monumental collapse will prevent them from retaking the crown from Liverpool, with Stats Perform's AI team giving Guardiola's men a 99.9 per cent likelihood of eventually being champions ahead of win over Wolves.

But as the latter stages of the season approaches, debates – as they often do – have started to turn towards comparisons with other great Premier League teams. Alex Ferguson's treble-winning United team of 1998-99 and Arsene Wenger's Arsenal 'Invincibles', who went the entire 2003-04 season unbeaten, are generally held up as standard-bearers.

Current Gunners boss Arteta, a former assistant to Guardiola at City prior to taking up his post at the Emirates Stadium, thinks the runaway leaders still have work to do to be mentioned in the same breath.

"With the maturity that they've shown and the way the team has evolved in recent years, I would say that in this moment it's the best," Arteta told reporters on Wednesday.

"To say they're the best ever means they have to win everything like that team did a few years ago when they won the four domestic competitions [City's 2018-19 domestic treble, plus that season's Community Shield].

"If you add to that the Champions League, then there is no question because nobody's done it."

When it was put to Arteta if City had already eclipsed the 'Invincibles', Arteta stressed he saw no value in making such comparisons but went on to applaud City for the consistency they have found, with Guardiola's men just one of three teams from Europe's big five leagues to win more than 20 consecutive games.

"I don't think we need to compare. I think what City's doing under Pep is phenomenal, not just this season but every season they've been together," he said.

"To sustain that level of perfection, to sustain that hunger and the way they play football is a joy to watch. We have to be grateful that in this country we have the joy of experiencing something like that.

"It's not about the way they play, it's the character that the team shows, the spirit it shows, the hunger - and not just with the ball.

"The best example is that these players, with the ability they have, chase the ball down when they lose it. That's remarkable and Pep has done that at every club."

Mikel Arteta was not surprised to see himself linked to the Barcelona job amid presidential elections at Camp Nou this week.

The Arsenal boss thinks connections with him and Barca, where he started his playing career, are inevitable.

However, Arteta insisted his full focus for "today and tomorrow" was on managing Arsenal.

Arteta won the FA Cup and Community Shield early in his 14-month tenure but his first full season has proved more difficult.

Arsenal are 10th in the Premier League table going into Saturday's away match at Burnley, though they did earn an impressive comeback win over Leicester City last time out.

The Gunners have also reached the Europa League last 16 and Arteta stressed there was so much more to do.

"There is always going to be speculation when there's elections in Barcelona," Arteta told a news conference amid reports leading candidate Joan Laporta wants to hire him.

"It is a huge team. Obviously, I was raised there as a player and they are always going to be linked.

"But I'm fully focused on the job that I have to do here, which we have a lot to do, and I'm really enjoying it.

"Today and tomorrow I'm the manager of Arsenal Football Club.

"I'm really enjoying it and I want to do much better than what we've done.

"I don't know [what is different about coaching Barca or Arsenal]. What I can tell you is that I feel privileged to manage this football club and I'm extremely happy."
 

Having stressed his commitment to Arsenal, Arteta was pressed on whether he had started contract negotiations with his current club.

The Spaniard revealed he had not, but did not feel it was a pressing issue as his deal runs until 2023.

"We are in the middle of the season," Arteta added. "We have a lot to play for and at the moment it's not a priority. 

"That's okay, I still have a contract here, I am happy here and I don't think it's something urgent.

"The aim is to go on and beat Burnley, we have been chasing [a top-four place] for a while but it is not in our hands.

"The only thing we can control is our own results and performances. 

"We are fully determined to do that better than what we have done in the past eight months."

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