Mikel Arteta on Arsenal's Premier League title race after loss: 'The moment is now'

Arsenal wasted a huge opportunity on Sunday and tossed aside their Premier League title favorites status, but Mikel Arteta said now comes the real test of his Gunners character.

Saying that the Gunners' season would have them "six or eight points clear anywhere else in the world," Arteta said his team would show its strength by how it reacts during what he deemed an inevitable tough time.

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Arsenal came out of their last stumble, a three-match winless run around the Christmas holiday, and punished the Premier League with an overwhelming attack that produced a 10W-1D mark from Jan. 20-April 6, the only dropped points coming in a scoreless draw at Man City and the combined score line an almost absurd 38-4.

Those times are easy, Arteta said. Now's the time for leaders to lead the way back toward the Premier League and Champions League crowns, with the Gunners' next game Wednesday's UCL quarterfinal second leg at Bayern Munich. The tie is currently level at 2.

Mikel Arteta on what’s next for Arsenal

Arsenal cannot worry about Manchester City and Liverpool dropping further points, Arteta said. It has to focus on the present.

"We cannot control this," Arteta said. "When you have the run that we had where you win and you win and you win and you win and you win and you win and you draw and you win win win win win, it's easy to be a leader, easy to stand up, easy to stand here, easy to be around the flow.

"It's now. The moment is now. After this blow, how we react. We have the best opportunity to react on Wednesday night against Bayern Munich. Now this team has to show it and now we have to make sure we react in the way that if we want to win, you have to expect to overcome these situations."

"This was going to happen at some state with the games we have. Now how we react to that is going to be the key."

Later, with the assembled media, he reiterated his status.

"If one result is going to (derail us) then we are not strong enough," Arteta said, via "We had a great performance in the first half, it should have been three or four. Second half the momentum shifted. Now the moment is to stand up and be counted. We don’t have any other solution. If you want to win championships when you have this moment you have to stand up."