Arteta proud of character and clean sheet record

Mikel Arteta praised the character of his players after they shrugged off the disappointment of our Champions League exit to return to the top of the Premier League after beating Wolves.

Having tasted defeat in Munich on the back of a home loss to Aston Villa, the pressure was on our players to get back to winning ways, but they did so against Wolves in style, controlling proceedings throughout and barely allowing our opponents a sight of goal.

Leandro Trossard and Martin Odegaard converted key chances to ensure we returned to north London with the victory, and Mikel admitted he was a very happy man with the manner of the reaction to our recent disappointments.

On what he was most pleased at Molineux, he said: “The resilience the team showed and the character after a week of a lot of emotions, it was a big opportunity for us to come back and be top of the league with five games to go.

“It’s a really tough place to come - a lot of big teams have dropped points here and I think the team performed really well, fully deserved to win the game and we got the win with a clean sheet again.
“[The opening goal] was good timing because we opened them up a few times but didn’t manage to score, and to score that goal just before half-time, I think it brought the team some calmness. In the second half, we kept going and at the end we managed to score the second.

“We had some big openings and chances, and we didn’t convert. They started to make some changes and throw some bodies in there, and we did the same with the subs which I thought helped the team a lot as well. A happy day!”

As well as getting the victory we craved, another shutout on the road was our sixth away clean sheet in a row, stretching back to January’s game at Nottingham Forest.

That has set a new club record, and indeed only Chelsea and Manchester United have ever recorded longer runs in the competition’s history. David Raya made a fine save to deny Joao Gomes in the first half but other than that, our backline were imperious on their way to creating a new milestone.

“That’s a very difficult thing to do as a team and especially in this league,” Mikel added. “Big credit to the boys because that gives us a huge platform to win football matches.
“Now we have another big one, a big London derby against a great team that are in good form, in front of our people. Let’s do it.”

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