With a tough victory over Newcastle on Sunday, Mikel Arteta said he was “proud” of his Arsenal team’s game management. Arsenal is still in the running for the Premier League crown.
While Granit Xhaka, a midfielder for Arteta, frequently collapsed to the ground with alleged injuries Newcastle viewed as delaying tactics, Eddie Howe’s players often complained about time-wasting on the part of Arteta’s players but Arteta had no concerns.
The Spaniard, whose team is in second place, one point behind Manchester City, used the term “pride” to characterise the situation.
“When there are open questions, they must be answered correctly and placed. The way Newcastle plays, which is very important, required us to handle the game even better than they did.
There is little doubt that any concerns about Arsenal’s tenacity were allayed throughout a committed and streetwise performance that was secured by Fabian Schär’s own goal in the second half following Martin Degaard’s first-half goal.
More than any other game this season, Arteta stated, “We needed a much better performance.”
His team lost on Tyneside in May of last year, which seriously hurt their chances of qualifying for the Champions League that year. But right now, despite Manchester City having a game in hand, the championship is still in reach.
We are almost there, Arteta declared. “The winnings are not far away. Let’s continue and see what transpires.
When asked explicitly about Xhaka and his tendency to squander time, he responded, “Our squad is not like that, and I don’t want to get into that topic. But I’m quite pleased because we did what was necessary to win the game.
Despite Liverpool’s late top-four charge, Howe’s squad is still on track to qualify for the Champions League, but the Newcastle boss was disappointed. “It was one of those days that didn’t go for us,” he remarked. “Despite not playing at our best, we had plenty of chances, and I believe that if we had scored, the game would have been very close to being tied. Thoughts of an explosion occasionally crossed my mind, but they never fully materialised.
It was quite frustrating for us because Arsenal is a top-notch club and they managed things effectively, slowed things down, and there were lots of interruptions in play. We wanted the ball in play because we are a very aggressive squad.
But the game itself was very good. We simply lacked the “X factor,” which we must locate in Leeds the following week. We still have four games to play to qualify for the Champions League. Although crossing the finish line will be challenging, this season has the potential to be quite special for us.