Mikel Arteta has praised his Arsenal side for their mentality following their 2-0 win over Wolves at the weekend.
THE LOWDOWN: EARLY CHRISTMAS PRESENT
After the loss to Brighton in the EFL Cup, it was back to winning ways for Arsenal in the Premier League over the weekend.
The Gunners fought to grab two second-half goals, both scored by captain Martin Ødegaard. Wolves held them back for the majority of the game, but the league leaders made sure to bury their two clearest chances in order to go five points clear at the top of the table.
Arsenal’s start to the season continues to surprise everybody even though the jury is still out on the team. But for now, Arteta is focusing on the positives, just like the fans of the club. The Spaniard has hailed his side for giving their all in their latest encounter, despite the World Cup looming.
THE LATEST: COMPLETE PERFORMANCE
“It was a big game before the World Cup,” Arteta said post-match.
“[There’s been] a lot of talk, a lot of noise around a lot of individuals and national teams in the last few days, so it was a tricky one to prepare for but I thought the boys were mentally ready.
“Physically, they gave absolutely everything, and they showed again, in a very different game to Chelsea, a lot of maturity and understanding of what to do to come out and get the three points.”
He also spoke about the changes the team made to help them take control of the game leading to the opener in the 55th minute.
“We had to be patient, we had to speed the game up a little bit and we had to have more courage to attack in certain areas,” he added.
“At the same time, we had to control the two front players because they were ready to run and they are incredibly good in open spaces.
“But we cannot play with an eye looking back, and we went for it. We could have scored another one or two. I’m really happy with a clean sheet again and winning the game.”
Arsenal will lose nine players to the World Cup, but they have done enough to see that the team is in the best possible position going into the new year.
They return on Boxing Day to host West Ham United but until then, Arteta wants the fans to enjoy the moment and keep supporting the team when they return.
“They can enjoy it and embrace the moment,” he said.
“They should feel part of what’s happening because they have an incredible power, the way they have transformed the club, the unity they have generated all across the club, and the players are delighted.”
THE VERDICT: THE DREAM CONTINUES
Arsenal are now five points clear at the top of the Premier League table and fans can genuinely continue to dream about a title push. There is still a long way to go but the Gunners have forced their way as one of the favourites to win the league come May.