• Manager outlines long-term vision before Tottenham game
  • ‘We want to be the best – and not in London’

The most striking constant during Arsenal’s season of exasperating form has been Mikel Arteta’s contention that it is all, essentially, a test of nerve. That applies directly to those who could theoretically bring the curtain down in an instant: more decorated managers have been sacked for delivering far better outcomes than Arteta will produce this year. What he and his employers share is an unshakable conviction that this long, hairpin-bending road will eventually lead them over a shimmering horizon.

They are nowhere near it yet and Tottenham, themselves far short of being a dominant force, may well reinforce the point on Sunday afternoon. Arteta will know that deep down but he has begun to afford himself some more bullish proclamations about what the future, as fashioned by him, ought to hold.

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