Mikel Arteta believes more neutrals would like to see Arsenal to win Premier League more than title rivals Manchester City.
Gunners boss thinks people see “the way Arsenal do things” while aiming to regain top spot Losing to City on Wednesday night.
They enter the weekend in second on goal difference and kick into action on Saturday’s lunch kick-off when they go to face former manager Unai Emery’s Aston Villa.
City’s 3-1 win at Emirates Stadium put them ahead of Arteta’s men for the first time since November 5, but they’re sitting at the top of the table amid allegations of Premier League rules violations.
“I agree with that,” he replied when told that more people would like to see Arsenal lift the title than City.
“Because of what they see, people have a lot of sympathy for us, our players, and the way we do things.
“I don’t think we are favourites, nor do I think that has changed. Man City was the number one contender from day one because they’ve been in that position for most of the last five years.
“Before the season, if you had to bet on someone, put some money or your house on someone, I think a lot of people would have done something different (rather than pick Arsenal).
Arsenal finished eighth in two consecutive years under Arteta, before narrowly missing their chance to enter the top four last season.
They surprised many viewers by putting together a run that was included in the championship mix, something that expectations have also changed since the season began.
“What we can control is what we do,” Arteta added.
“That’s what I’ve been saying for three months. It’s about what we’re going to do tomorrow. The energy we have to play with and how to keep believing in what we’re doing. And to be more efficient.
“We can’t control what other teams do. At the end of the day, when you get to the end of May, you will have to have a certain score. Don’t tell me how and where, but you will have to have those points.
“When you see yourself there and you see the team playing and winning matches, you want to continue that. That’s for sure.
“You have to do things consistently, at an extremely high level. You must also have all the players. Having the capacity to spin is to have the capacity when players aren’t at the best moment to replace them.
“This is what we are trying to do. But I think it’s an extraordinary thing to have a highly motivated team with a highly motivated crowd willing to help you.”