Mikel Arteta says his midfield partnership with Mathieu Flamini gave Alexis Sanchez the freedom to thrive at Sunderland.

The Chile international was a constant threat in the No 10 role, and scored two goals to cap off a fine individual performance at the Stadium of Light.

Arteta was pleased with the tactical flexibility the team showed and the solid defensive foundation that he and Flamini were able to provide.

We wanted to give a bit more freedom to Alexis, playing a bit behind Danny [Welbeck], more like a 4-4-2, which we haven't played for a while

Mikel Arteta

“I felt really comfortable with [Flamini],” he told Arsenal Player. “Last year we played some important games together and I think we understand each other well.

“We wanted to give a bit more freedom to Alexis, playing a bit behind Danny [Welbeck], more like a 4-4-2, which we haven't played for a while. It worked - I think Alexis did very well today so we're happy for him.

“His confidence is high. Physically he's better, you can see that by the runs he was making in the 93rd minute, [when he] chased the keeper and kept going. That's all about him - he wants to keep going, he wants to improve and he's doing very well.”

Having now won two away games in succession, Arteta is confident that the team is starting to generate some momentum.

“We need to be consistent now and get the points because you know how difficult it is,” he said. “You look at Manchester City dropping points, you look at Liverpool dropping points and that tells you how difficult this league has become.”

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Rob Kelly 27 Oct 2014