Mikel Arteta is confident Arsenal will regain their confidence against West Ham after dropping points from winning positions in the last two fixtures.
Arsenal threw away two-goal leads against Liverpool and West Ham in the Premier League, which has reduced their points gap to four points ahead of Manchester City.
The league leaders took early leads at Anfield and at the London Stadium, only to allow their opponents to come back into the games to deny them victory with Bukayo Saka missing a penalty against West Ham.
Arteta believes his team can find confidence in the remaining fixtures.
“I’m very confident,” Arteta said during his pre-match press conference ahead of Southampton’s visit on Thursday.
“Twists and turns are part of anything you do, especially in football. Whatever the aim or the target is, it is not going to go in a linear progression. You have to know that and prepare for that and the way the team reacted this week is incredibly positive and we want to see that tomorrow night.
“My players today are really looking forward to tomorrow, to get the game that we want and the result that we want, and play in front of our crowd again. There are seven games left and we have four games to play at the Emirates which is for them a big thing, and we’re looking forward to it.”
Arsenal were in cruise control at the London Stadium on Sunday, with Gabriel Jesus and Martin Odegaard scoring inside the first 10 minutes, but conceded a penalty just before halftime, which allowed the home side back into the game.
On Friday, under the floodlights at the Emirates Stadium, Arteta wants his team to continue their progress and take lessons from the games that will help them against Southampton.
“Every game is an opportunity to improve as a team and every game has different gifts. Those gifts are what you take, what you learn and how you improve as a team. We have another gift tomorrow and we have to take it the way we want to.
“Maybe we got too comfortable at some stage in the [West Ham] game. It’s different. They know, I don’t have to coach them because they said it straight away. They know, it’s in their system, it’s in the gut and tomorrow we have to show it. Sometimes we need to say it, now we have to show it and when it comes to a similar position, react in a different way and be much more ruthless.”
Second-placed Manchester City are four points behind Arsenal on the league table but have a game in hand with eight matches left until the end of the season. With a visit to the Etihad Stadium next week, Mikel does not want to put pressure on his players.
“We have to focus on what we have, and the reason why we have dropped those points. I think they were two different games in my opinion, and the game would have changed like that if we score the penalty, it’s a different game. The margins are so, so small in this league and they have to go your way to get the results that you want, or sometimes the results that you deserve.”