“We have to beat the top teams if we want to be fighting with them.” Mikel Arteta in bullish mood after Arsenal victory at Manchester United


Arteta’s thoughts

Arsenal’s victory at Old Trafford was a historic moment for both clubs. It signified the first victory at the ground since 2006. Every game against a ‘big 6’ side would be given the narrative that Arsenal had not won an away tie since 2015. The relief from the game was not just evident on social media through the fans but in Mikel Arteta’s post-match press conference.

“I think we merited the points. I’m really happy that after 14 years without a win, we were able to come and do what we’ve done today. As well I asked the players, ‘Please, let’s be who we are and play with our identity and our style’. I think we did it from the first minute against a really difficult opponent.”

“Obviously they have a lot of quality and we deserved to win the game,” said the Spaniard.

“We have to beat the top teams if we want to be fighting with them. It’s something we haven’t been able to do in the last few years, especially away from home. We have to improve. There is that gap and we have to make it as small as possible, as quick as possible. This is the challenge that we are facing.”

Arsenal lost at both Anfield and the Etihad, but it was clear the gap Arteta referenced is closing. He has made them defensively astute and that cannot be understated.

Not Holding on

Rob Holding was injured when he last featured in the league at Old Trafford. The Englishman has found it difficult to return from the ACL rupture which sidelined him for the best part of a year. The 25-year-old spoke about the importance of the victory.

“Yeah, happy with the performance and the clean sheet,” said Holding. “We’ve not won here in 14 years in the league so it’s nice to get that off our backs. The team’s just improving and hopefully we can just keep this momentum.”

Speaking regarding how he thought Arsenal performed, Holding thought the score line flattered United. “Yeah we hit the crossbar in the first half and B’s had that header he could’ve put in. On another day we maybe win that 3-0 or 4-0. Just happy to get the win and the clean sheet.”

“I think our performance at City was a good team performance and we just got unlucky with the result. I think now we can get that confidence from beating a top-six team away and then we can crack on.”

It is clear that Arteta has changed not only the performance of the players but the mentality to. It is clear to hear in Holding’s comments that this is the case.

See also: Exclusive: Alan Smith on Mikel Arteta, Thomas Partey, Arsenal’s striking situation and William Saliba

“If you know you have the right man and believe he is the right man, stick with him” – John Barnes backs Solskjaer

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Liverpool FC 7 2 16
2 Everton FC 7 4 13
3 Southampton FC 7 2 13
4 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 7 0 13
5 Chelsea FC 7 7 12
6 Aston Villa FC 6 6 12
7 Leicester City FC 6 5 12
8 Tottenham Hotspur FC 6 8 11
9 Manchester City FC 6 1 11
10 Newcastle United FC 7 -1 11
11 Leeds United 6 3 10
12 Crystal Palace FC 7 -3 10
13 Arsenal FC 6 1 9
14 West Ham United FC 7 3 8
15 Manchester United FC 5 -3 7
16 Brighton & Hove Albion FC 6 -2 5
17 West Bromwich Albion 6 -8 3
18 Sheffield United FC 7 -7 1
19 Fulham FC 6 -9 1
20 Burnley FC 6 -9 1
Player Team Goals
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur FC 8
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 8
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 7
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur FC 6
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United FC 6
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 6
Bamford, Patrick Leeds United 6
Ings, Danny Southampton FC 5
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace FC 5
Grealish, Jack Aston Villa FC 4
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 4
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion FC 4
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa FC 4
Jimenez, Raul Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 4
Rodriguez, James Everton FC 3
Jorginho Chelsea FC 3
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United FC 3
Ward-Prowse, James Southampton FC 3
Werner, Timo Chelsea FC 3
Antonio, Michail West Ham United FC 3

Source: 101greatgoals.com