Oleksandr Zinchenko, a defender for Arsenal, claimed that some of his teammates had made fun of him when he suggested at the beginning of the season that the team would win the Premier League title, but that the group has since begun to accept the idea as a possibility.
Zinchenko, a player from Ukraine, moved from Manchester City to Arsenal at the start of the current campaign after winning the league four times with the champions.
With his composed demeanor at the back and adaptability in attack, Zinchenko has been essential to Arsenal’s winning streak. With a game still to play, Mikel Arteta’s team surged five points ahead of City at the top of the standings with a 3-2 victory over Manchester United on Sunday.
“To be honest, when I had just arrived, the quality I saw … obviously I knew the Arsenal team, I knew all of them before, but still I realized on the pitch we have everything to achieve big things,” Zinchenko told Premier League TV.
“I started to speak in the dressing room, saying: ‘Guys, forget top three or whatever, we need to think about the title.’ Some of them were laughing but no one is laughing now and all of us are dreaming.
“But still there’s a lot of games to play and now you can see [Manchester] United is back. City, as always, is there. Let’s see what is going to happen, but we need to move step by step.”
Since the “Invincibles” team led by previous manager Arsene Wenger won the league in 2003-04, Arsenal has not triumphed.
Next, Arteta’s team will focus on the FA Cup, where they will play Friday’s fourth-round match against Zinchenko’s previous team, City, at the Etihad Stadium.