Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta does his best not to appear like he’s ever too excited, but the even-keeled manager was buzzing after his side controlled much of the match in a 2-1 North London derby win over 10-man Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday at the Emirates Stadium.
“Full credit to do it the way we did it today after 2.5 days coming back from Europe with the intensity and quality shown, it was incredible,” Arteta said.
There were few dodgy moments for Arsenal, though the Gunners went down 1-0 on an Erik Lamela rabona goal moments after hitting the frame twice at the other end.
“This is football,” Arteta said. “It’s about how you react after that and this team has shown recently that it has that reaction in them, to keep trying, keep believing.”
Martin Odegaard and Alexandre Lacazette scored as Arsenal dominated Spurs save for a gorgeous rabona goal from Erik Lamela and a late sequence.
But that was on Arsenal’s mind despite holding on for the win. Spurs managed four of their six shot attempts in the final five minutes and needed a Harry Kane-struck post and heroic Gabriel Magalhaes block to seal the three points.
Both Arteta and match-winner Alexandre Lacazette admitted that the end isn’t sitting well with them.
“Last 10 minutes was the worst we played,” Arteta said. “We could not manage the game. We could not manage the tension. … The way we played throughout the game we should’ve won in a comfortable position.”
“Really stressful because this is our problem when we are winning to manage the game, even 11 against 10,” Lacazette said. “This is where we have to improve a lot but in the end we won and we’re happy to get the three points.”
Lacazette was fortunate to win a penalty after flubbing a side volley but he converted the decisive spot kick to give him seven goals in his last 14 league outings.
Arteta would not confirm that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s removal from the Starting XI was due to lateness, but he lavished praise on his star.
“We have a way of living together that we have to respect each other but he’s an incredible guy and one of our most important players and he’s our captain,” Arteta said. “These things happen. We move forward. We dedicate it to our fans.”
Lacazette did his best to paper over any cracks with his comments, not exactly acknowledging the situation if he knew (which, of course, you’d assume he did).
“It’s not easy to sit on the bench in big games but it’s a part of football,” Lacazette said. “I don’t think it was anything about Auba, it was just the decision of the coach.”