Oleksandr Zinchenko says Arsenal can be world beaters ahead of their drive for Premier League and Champions League glory

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OLEKSANDR ZINCHENKO believes Arsenal are ready to be world beaters ahead of a season-defining two weeks.

The Gunners remain at the heart of a thrilling three-pronged Premier League title race after beating strugglers Luton 2-0 at the Emirates on Wednesday night thanks to Martin Odegaard’s first half strike and Daiki Hashioka’s own goal.

Oleksandr Zinchenko starred in Arsenal's 2-0 win over Luton on Wednesday

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Oleksandr Zinchenko starred in Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Luton on WednesdayCredit: Getty
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta is eyeing Prem and Champions League glory this term

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Gunners boss Mikel Arteta is eyeing Prem and Champions League glory this termCredit: Reuters

That is now nine wins from their last 10 Prem outings – including going unbeaten against title rivals Liverpool and Manchester City since the turn of the year.

However, their biggest tests remain on the horizon this month both domestically and in Europe

After Saturday’s trip to Brighton, Mikel Arteta’s men face Bayern Munich over two legs in the Champions League quarter finals on April 9 and April 17, either side of hosting top four chasing Aston Villa on April 14.

With their hopes of silverware still in the balance, Ukrainian international Zinchenko has sent a rallying cry to his teammates.

Asked if Arsenal’s unbeaten streak – including a hard-fought 0-0 draw away at City last weekend – gives them confidence, Zinchenko said: “Yeah, I won’t lie to you.

“We are fighting for something big this season. It shows we are ready to compete with the best teams in the world.

“It’s not easy to play against City away and also Liverpool away and the other teams as well. It shows Arsenal are ready to fight for it.”

Zinchenko arrived from City last summer for £35m, and was a part of the Arsenal side that threw away an eight-point lead at the top to Pep Guardiola’s men last term.

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The 27-year-old full-back added: “When I came here I saw already a lot of qualities here and a lot of different players with such a big talent.

“This year all of us we’ve got more experience, we’ve played with each other much, much more and I think we’re improving.”

Arsene Wenger reveals Arsenal star Mikel Arteta signed after his own failed attempt

Zinchenko made his first Prem start against the Hatters since early February, having lost his place to makeshift Polish defender Jakub Kiwior in recent weeks.

With the impending return of left-back Jurrien Timber after his knee surgery back in August, Zinchenko is relishing the competition for places.

He said: “It is good for all of us and the team as well that we have good competition in each position. We need to fight and work hard to deserve this opportunity to play every time.”

I used to give Declan Rice compliments on the football pitch… I couldn’t help myself, says Troy Deeney

By Troy Deeney

THERE are certain people that you come across in football and you know instantly who they are, what they’re about and what the trajectory of their life is going to be.

Anyone who has worked or grown up with Declan Rice knows that he has always been destined for the top.

When he was at West Ham, he was a centre-half who played in midfield purely to help out and ended up excelling.

The way he used to listen and learn from his old captain Mark Noble and be a student of the game was second to none.

And because of that, whenever I interacted with him on a football pitch, I never felt the need to be disrespectful towards him because there was just a pure will to win.

We would tell each other to ‘do one’ every now and again but then I would get these weird moments when he would do something special and I couldn’t help but say, ‘Good touch, mate’.

He had this joyful atmosphere around him which you can see in all of his interviews, even now at Arsenal. You never see him get in trouble, being outlandish, but he has that jokey personality.

He is still quite kiddish at 25, yet with a very serious body and mind in terms of being the best player he can be.

When he was announced as England captain against Belgium, there was no outrage, no shock or surprise or, ‘Why him?’. It was more a sense of, ‘Yeah, that makes sense’.

There is no doubt in my mind that he is in line to take the armband for his country full-time after Harry Kane moves on, alongside his midfield partner Jude Bellingham.

Click here to read Troy Deeney’s column in full.



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Oleksandr Zinchenko says Arsenal can be world beaters ahead of their drive for Premier League and Champions League glory

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