Soccer

Oleksandr Zinchenko says Arsenal can ‘compete with the best teams in the world’

The Gunners are in the hunt for both the Premier League and the Champions League.

Oleksandr Zinchenko is in confident mood
Oleksandr Zinchenko Oleksandr Zinchenko is in confident mood (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Oleksandr Zinchenko believes Arsenal have proved they can compete with the world’s best teams as the club’s pursuit of domestic and European glory intensifies.

Mikel Arteta’s men kept up the pace with Premier League title rivals Liverpool and Manchester City thanks to Wednesday evening’s comfortable 2-0 victory over lowly Luton.

The Gunners are also chasing Champions League success and next week begin a two-legged quarter-final against Bayern Munich.

With the season at a pivotal stage, left-back Zinchenko feels taking four top-flight points from both Jurgen Klopp’s Reds and Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions this term gives his side confidence.

Oleksandr Zinchenko helped Arsenal beat Luton
Oleksandr Zinchenko falls Oleksandr Zinchenko helped Arsenal beat Luton (Nick Potts/PA)

“Yeah, I won’t lie to you, 100 per cent because it shows that we are ready to compete with the best teams in the world,” he said.

“It’s not easy to play against City away and also Liverpool away and the other teams as well – I don’t want to be disrespectful to the others. It shows that Arsenal are ready to fight for it.

“We know that we are fighting for something big this season.”

Martin Odegaard’s 10th strike of the season and an own goal from Daiki Hashioka were enough to dispatch the relegation-threatened Hatters and build on an Easter Sunday stalemate at City.

Arsenal led the title race for much of last season before fading away in the final weeks.

Ukraine international Zinchenko, a four-time Premier League champion during his City days, feels the Gunners must harness that disappointment but concedes only time will tell if they can avoid a similar fate.

“I can’t tell you this right now because there is still a lot of games to play,” the 27-year-old replied when asked if Arsenal have the squad to fight for both the Champions League and Premier League titles.

“We already have this experience from last season, where we were quite far from the others and then in the end we didn’t do what we wanted.

“This experience we need to take with us and then let’s see what is going to happen. 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.”

Arsenal’s final eight top-flight fixtures begin at Brighton on Saturday evening, while they still have to face Champions League-chasing Aston Villa, London rivals Chelsea and Tottenham, and Manchester United.

Arsenal are in the hunt for two trophies
Arsenal Arsenal are in the hunt for two trophies (Nick Potts/PA)

Luton’s quest for survival continues at home to Bournemouth this weekend.

The 18th-placed Hatters have gone 10 league games without victory following defeat at Emirates Stadium but remain just three points from safety.

Manager Rob Edwards said: “We’ve got to recover well and we’ve got to go and attack the game on Saturday.

“Bournemouth’s not going to be easy and I think everyone needs to know that – the last 20 games I think they’re fifth in the form table.

“We’re going to have to be right at it. We’ve got seven games left now so it’s game on. We know it’s time to be delivering points and we’re going to be going for it.”