Having seen his team recover from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge, Mikel Arteta was delighted our never-give-up attitude came to the fore once again.
Goals from Declan Rice and Leandro Trossard saw us rally to maintain our unbeaten start to the campaign, which was in real jeopardy after a Cole Palmer penalty and Mykhailo Mudryk’s strike saw us fall 2-0 down before we really began to show what we were capable of.
Mikel believes that was down to our fighting spirit coming to the fore, as it has multiple times in recent seasons to yield a positive result.
Speaking post-match, he said: “The first 10 or 15 minutes, we weren't at the level of intensity required in a London derby. There was not enough purpose with the ball, and not enough determination to win the ball when there were many situations to win it. That cost is that we have to defend open space against one of the best teams in the world doing that.
“After that, we started to modify things and we started to grab more control in the game, but in the second half the purpose was different, the intensity was different, we started to win duels, we started to play forward, we started to play with a knife in the teeth and it was a different game.
“Even though we conceded in a situation like the goal of Mudryk, we kept going and they did exactly what we asked of them, that you never give up and we continued to go and go. We should have scored a goal earlier, we didn't, but the team was always there to fight until the end. In the end, we got a point after a really difficult result and the way it started.”
The strikes from Declan and Leandro were vastly different but both superb, with the technical aspects of both pleasing the manager, who was also thrilled with the impacts our substitutes made yet again.
We have now scored five goals this season via players who came on as subs, second only to Brighton in the division, with Leo becoming the first Gunner to score his first three goals for the club in that way, which Mikel feels once again comes down to his mentality.
Reflecting on the goals, he added: “The finish of Declan is top, because it's still not easy to score. The other is a very different goal with a lot of quality and a lot of subs participating again in that goal that earns a point for the team.
“[Leo’s] got belief, because he's training every day to be selected and he fights for every second that he has in the team, and that's the mentality. And not only him, I think Tomiyasu, the way he came on at half-time was top, the way Kai came on and had a big impact, and with Eddie and Emile - that's what we need.”
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