Arsenal maintained their spot at the top of the Premier League table over the weekend as they beat rivals Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 in an enthralling North London derby. The Gunners had to overcome some adversity but in the end, they pulled through and secured one of the biggest wins the club has had in recent years.
They’ll now be watching the Manchester derby to see what kind of lead they’ll take into next week but prior to that, manager Mikel Arteta spoke with the media about his side’s success.
On the performance:
I’m really happy, it was a great performance, a great day with an incredible atmosphere to play in. I’m so grateful to all the people that connect with the team in such a special way. I’m really happy because it’s an opportunity to make a lot of people happy and proud and I think we have delivered that to all of them.
On if we deserved to win:
I think we deserved to win the game, yes.
On if he was worried when Tottenham equalised:
You’re going to have those moments against Spurs and all the big teams. You have the feeling every time with the way they connect with their front three that something can happen and you have to live with that. I don’t think we played with that in the back of our heads and that’s where you could really feel the players from the beginning with the courage, determination, freedom and energy to go for it, and this is what we demand from them.
On who gave the pre-match team talk:
On the reaction he got to his team talk:
Yes, I could sense it [the passion in the players] every day since they came back from the international break, they were ready and focused for it. It’s so meaningful we know what is at stake in this game and it goes a little bit further than just the three points. You have to play with that passion and that coolness in your head and I think the players did it brilliantly today.
On us making 22 passes before the goal:
If we can score in one, I would prefer it! It’s quicker, you are closer to the goal and it’s easier to do. It’s the way we play that we trained for every single day, but I think as a team that connection and understanding of what we want to do is reflected in that action.
On what this result says about the direction of the club:
Absolutely [this result can be a springboard], I think it started in that dressing room when you get the right people and the right players and they start to connect with each other. It takes it to another level with all the members of staff that are a huge part of the team and it doesn’t matter at what level, it can be at the highest level.
When they start to connect, you can then deliver that to the pitch and start to transmit certain things on the pitch and then when you connect the way we have done with our fans and it becomes something really powerful. I think this is the biggest success that this group of players are having.
On if it’s important to keep the momentum throughout the winter and into the new year:
It is because in this league, the next match we are going to play in the Europa League in a few days here and it will be really tough. But we have that now, and it is so powerful and meaningful for us. Obviously now the next step is to go and do many other things. But we have to – first of all – have what we have, and with that group of players and that connection I think it is much easier, that something nice can happen.
On the confidence gained from beating a top-six team:
One hundred percent needed. Because when you play such a big game, you want to win, and those opinions are correct because when you look at the stats and if you just put it in that context, you can do it. It’s how you give and receive information, it does affect you.
On whether a win like this sends a message to other big opponents:
For me the message is for the players, and everybody here that is connected to the club, that we are able to play at this level, against this kind of opponent. That should give them confidence and belief.
On whether this kind of result and the style of play is a vindication for the decisions of a manager:
Yeah but I don’t see it from that perspective, you know what we are trying to do, this is for Arsenal Football Club. We are ready because our history tells us a certain way to play, and a way to be. That’s what we have to try to translate – what are certain beliefs, into behaviours and habits. This is what we try to do.
On if he was impressed the team went in for the kill after Tottenham went down to 10 men:
Yes because a lot of them are really young. Just to go through those emotions, and to understand what the game really demands right now – that’s something that can be a little bit tricky. But I think they were really intelligent and really mature in the way handled the situation. They did what I think the game just demanded in the moment.
On being top of the table for the time being:
It’s great always looking at it and seeing the club where it is, in this position. It’s great, it gives you a great feeling obviously. But we are focused. It is a really hungry and humble team, believe me. We know where we are. There is nothing that we have done yet, and there are still a lot of things to improve, and that’s the direction that we are taking.
On when it is time to start taking us seriously as title contenders:
I’ll leave that to you guys, honestly. We are just at the start, and we are really happy with where we are, and understanding that you cannot control [everything]. Because emotion is related, and the table says what it says, but it is not something that we look at.
Quotes via Arsenal.com
How long can Arsenal keep this great run going?