Mikel Arteta believes that our 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur is one of the best of his three years in charge so far.
A Hugo Lloris own goal and a strike from the red-hot Martin Odegaard handed us a first win at the home of our neighbours since 2014, completed a first league double over Spurs since that year and move us eight points clear at the top of the table.
All that, plus the magnificent first-half display that put us on the path to victory, meant that this derby day triumph shoots towards the top of the boss’ favourite days in charge so far.
“It’s one of the best to be fair, because it’s been a long time,” he said. “I think it was 2014 since we last won [a league away derby] and we talked about it the whole week. Obviously we knew the other results and today was a big day for us, and we are really happy.
“We have the privilege to have a role and job where you can make a lot of people happy and when you have that opportunity, you have to want it a lot, and I think the team showed today how much they want it. Hopefully people will be proud and happy today with the way the team played and the way we won the game.”
For the first time, our supporters could celebrate a victory at the new home of our rivals, and being able to deliver that joy to those Gooners in the ground or across the globe is something that Mikel is also delighted and privileged to be able to do.
“This is all about our people,” he added. “They are the soul of this football club and when you go [to the away end] and share the enjoyment and you just see their faces and how much it means to them, it touches your skin.
“We are people who play this game with a lot of passion and emotion and when you see that reaction, it makes all the hard work we’ve put in and all the suffering some days to make sense and enjoy the moment.”
The domination of the opening 45 minutes was followed by a dogged display when play resumed as Spurs threw everything at us, but we managed to keep our sheet clean for the ninth time in 18 league games.
That topped off a memorable evening for Arteta, who was delighted to once again see the resilience that has helped us see out many wins this campaign, with this one in particular extending our lead at the division’s summit.
“We came here to play in the same way we want to play,” Mikel evaluated. “We have a lot of courage and determination with and without the ball, we showed a lot of quality, we showed the intensity requirement and we were really, really at it in every single action.
“The way we played took us to the game we wanted to play and after that we got the lead, and we were in a very strong position to win the game.
“But we knew that the game is going to shift moments; it can be the atmosphere, it can be the quality of players, it can be an error - I don’t know. But it is going to happen, and how are we going to react when that happens? To be fair, the team reacted with some excellent defensive actions from the defenders, and then Aaron made two or three big saves when we needed that.”
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.