After seeing his side end 2022 with another victory, Mikel Arteta deemed this particular one against Brighton as “big” as we extended our advantage at the top of the table.
Goals from Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Martinelli saw us claim our first victory at the home of the Seagulls since 2017, as we moved seven points clear of Manchester City at the Premier League’s summit.
And after seeing us weather a storm after Roberto De Zerbi’s team refused to concede defeat late in the second half, the boss was just as happy with our resilience to get over the line, as he was with the impressive display that saw us race into a 3-0 lead.
Speaking post-match, he said: “It is a big win against a really good side. We talked before that it was going to be tough to come away from here with three points, and we’ve done it, so credit to the team and the players because we’ve had some great moments.
“We put ourselves in a great position to win the game, and in some moments we had to suffer, dig in and defend deeper. There were more things we should have done better in defending, but we’re obviously really pleased to win the game.
“It’s always imperative to win, and this is why we prepare for the games the way we do, to come here and win. The other results help, and that’s good for us.”
With Saka, Nketiah and Martinelli all finding the net for the second game in five days, and Odegaard moving onto seven for the campaign, Arteta is delighted his attackers continue to deliver the goods, and believes their link-up play is only going to improve the more they gel.
On their goalscoring exploits, he added: “I love it because that’s what they have to do. They play in the front line to decide matches, and that’s their duty and that’s what we are training for and what we expect from them. It was great because today they were really helpful again to win the points.
“The timing and the cohesion and understanding between them is getting better and better, and obviously the confidence as well so that’s really important for the team.”
Following up our Boxing Day success over West Ham United with another three points means Gooners across the world will be toasting the New Year with a bit extra gusto this evening, and Mikel is thrilled our form since the resumption of domestic football has enabled them to do that, and hopes it continues a little longer yet.
“It is the best way possible [to see in the new year],” he said. “We wanted to start very strongly after the stop, and we’ve won both games in different ways, and now onto the next one - Newcastle.”
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