‘I had full faith the players could do it’: Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal believe again after recovering from defeat against Man City to get title bid back on track… as he hails their ‘incredible’ defensive work in wins at Leicester and Aston Villa
Mikel Arteta claimed Arsenal believe in themselves again after back-to-back away wins over Aston Villa and Leicester put their title challenge firmly back on track.
The Gunners were wobbling after taking only a single point from three games against Everton, Brentford and Manchester City, but Gabriel Martinelli’s strike at the start of the second half was enough to secure a deserved win.
It was a 10th away victory of the campaign for Arteta’s men – one more than they achieved in the whole of last season – and ensured they would head into the next round of matches top of the table.
‘These wins were really important as they create more belief among the players, around our club and externally,’ said Arteta. ‘But I had full faith the players could do it.
‘It was about coming back to some basics and details that took games away from us. In the last two games we did those things much better.
Mikel Arteta said the ‘belief’ is back among his Arsenal players after back-to-back league wins
Gabriel Martinelli’s second half strike was enough to give Arsenal a crucial 1-0 win in Leicester
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers believes the Gunners will be close to winning the title
‘We dominated but lacked the final pass to score more and create bigger chances but defensively we were incredible. To restrict Leicester to one shot off target at home is extremely difficult and the players did really well.’
It could have been even better for Arsenal but for two contentious VAR calls. Leandro Trossard’s first-half strike was chalked off for an apparent foul on goalkeeper Danny Ward by Ben White, before Harry Souttar’s clumsy shove on Bukayo Saka in the box went unpunished.
Arteta added: ‘I don’t want to talk about those situations too much. We are extremely happy. We got over the disallowed goal which was difficult to take, and stayed really focused and determined.’
Arsenal’s task was made easier by the absence of James Maddison, who has knee trouble but missed the game after Leicester said he had become ill overnight.
But boss Brendan Rodgers had no complaints about the result and backed Arsenal to stay in the fight to the end. His own side remain in relegation trouble and have a huge game at Southampton next weekend.
Rodgers said: ‘In terms of technical quality they were on a different level to us. They are having an outstanding season and if they can keep everyone fit, they will go very close.’
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