Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal can claw their way back into the Premier League title race when leaders Liverpool visit the Emirates on Sunday.
The Gunners trail Jurgen Klopp’s men by five points at the top of the table as they aim to win the league title for the first time in 20 years.
Arsenal were top when the sides drew 1-1 at Anfield in December, but went on to lose three consecutive games to West Ham and Fulham in the Premier League and Liverpool in the FA Cup around the turn of the year.
But Arteta’s men have bounced back since a winter break with victories over Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest.
“We play at home, and what I sense is a real sense of positivity and enthusiasm around the place,” said Arteta, who is hoping his side can match their 1-0 win over Manchester City at the Emirates in October.
“This season, we have beaten big teams already and it’s another opportunity to beat Liverpool now and be in a much better place.
“We talk about momentum; we’ve won the last two games and want to win the third one, especially at home with our people.
“It’s going to be an incredible atmosphere, and we’re going to need that. So I encourage everybody to do that, to play every single ball with us, and if we do that, we’re going to have a big chance to win the game.”
Arsenal looked on course for a routine win at Forest on Tuesday until Taiwo Awoniyi’s late strike left the visitors holding on for a 2-1 victory.
After full-time, defenders Ben White and Oleksandr Zinchenko were involved in a heated row over the Forest’s goal, but Arteta claimed that passion was something he “loves” to see.
“They are living together now, they are best mates! You don’t argue with someone you don’t have a great relationship with. That happens because you have the trust and chemistry to react the way you did,” added Arteta.
“Do like it? I love it. As long as it’s in a respectful way and only with the intention to be more demanding and better as a team, and it stays there, I’m very happy with that.”
“I want my players to have desire always to be better. In order to do that we have to be demanding of each other, otherwise it’s Disneyland.”