HomeFootball NewsArteta: North London derby win proof of Arsenal's growth

Arteta: North London derby win proof of Arsenal’s growth

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Mikel Arteta hailed Arsenal’s resilience after they held on for a 3-2 win over Tottenham in Sunday’s North London derby, seeing the victory as proof of the strides they have made since last season.

Arsenal faced what many expected to be the sternest examination of their Premier League title credentials on Sunday, but they raced into a 3-0 lead within just 38 minutes.

Bukayo Saka and Kai Havertz were on target after Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg put through his own net as the Gunners took control, though they were made to survive a Spurs onslaught after the break.

David Raya’s inexplicable error allowed Cristian Romero to pull one back, then Declan Rice conceded a penalty which Son Heung-min converted to set up a grandstand finish.

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However, Arteta’s men came through a tense period of stoppage time to move four points clear of Manchester City at the summit, though the champions closed that gap back to one with a 2-0 win at Nottingham Forest later on Sunday.

Asked how he felt when Spurs made it 3-2, Arteta said: “I was praying! There were so many Spurs players in the box.

“At 3-0 up you’re in control of the game, you come out for the second half and we’re dominating the game and creating chances, then an individual error happens and something clicks.

“It puts a wrong message in your brain. They got another one and then it’s game on. Then they have the courage to put a lot of players forward. We had to dig in and suffer and react. I’m very pleased with the way the team did it.”

Asked whether the win was evidence of Arsenal becoming more mature after they missed out on the title last season, Arteta said: “I think so.

“Last season, we want to West Ham and we missed a penalty, and against Liverpool we conceded in the 91st minute and then you’re not capable.

“At the end, the judgement is going to be based on the outcome. If they got the goal in the last minute to make it 3-3 then we wouldn’t have been ready. The margins are so small.”

Tottenham’s route back into the game came through Raya chipping a terrible pass straight to Romero, who brought it down before stroking into the bottom-left corner.

While Arteta was not impressed by that lapse in concentration, he was proud of Raya’s reaction, saying: “I don’t like the sequence of play, I don’t like the principles that we apply in that moment and the orientation of the ball. After that, it can happen.

“You misjudge the situation, you try to make the pass and then you are in doubt and they took advantage of that. Then with the penalty it’s another principle which you cannot do.

“It’s part of football. What I love is that David picks his hands up, which are quite heavy, and he was sensational for the last 20 or 25 minutes of the game. This is what I love about our players.”

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.

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