Mikel Arteta felt Arsenal “went another step” after a crucial derby victory over Tottenham moved the Gunners eight points clear of Manchester City.
Hugo Lloris inexplicably turned into his own net before Martin Odegaard powered into the bottom-right corner as Arsenal’s first-half dominance propelled them to a 2-0 victory at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
That left Arsenal with an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League, their biggest advantage in the top-flight table when playing the same number of games as the side below since the final day of the 2003-04 season, when they won the title by 11 points.
Having completed their first league double over Tottenham and first victory at their fierce rivals since the 2013-14 season, Arteta believes his side displayed their title credentials with a pivotal performance.
The Arsenal manager told Sky Sports: “I loved the way we played and the courage we showed to come here and play.
“Doing our job we can make a lot of people happy, and I’m sure we’ve made Arsenal fans very happy. Everything we ask, they are so willing to try and do.
“They are a terrific group of players. I think today we went another step. We won last season in big stadiums, but the way we won today was really pleasing to watch.
“It shows not only determination and courage but you have to have the belief and quality to do it against this team. That is absolutely down to the players.
“We were really aggressive. We were really intense against the high press. We won so many balls and duels. They created some openings, they are a dangerous team, but we did a lot of good work.”
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) January 15, 2023
Erik ten Hag’s in-form Manchester United, who are nine points behind the leaders, follow on January 22 at Emirates Stadium in what could prove to be a decisive clash in the title race.
Arsenal may have hoped to have Mykhaylo Mudryk to call upon for that game but the Ukraine international instead opted to join Chelsea, who reportedly paid £89million (€100m) to sign the 22-year-old from Shakhtar Donetsk.
Arteta, though, preferred to focus on the quality at his disposal.
“I am very proud to have the players we have. We always want to try to improve the squad,” he said. “The club are the first to try and improve the players we have.
“We have to have some discipline and be consistent in the targets we have. We can make the players better – let’s focus on that.
“We had some injuries, long-term injuries and it’s not helpful but we can focus on tomorrow. Train better, train better and review the game. We will try to improve the team.
“There are always a few parties involved. The club are willing and they have my support and I have their support.”
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