Mikel Arteta is loving the ‘connection’ his Arsenal players are creating with their fans, while the Spaniard has also given his verdict on the Gunners’ title chances.
Arsenal made it four wins from four in the Premier League on Saturday by beating Fulham 2-1 at home. They went behind but showed courage and commitment to get back into the match and ultimately pick up all three points.
Arsenal dominated the first half but couldn’t put themselves in front. Gabriel Martinelli hit the crossbar from a corner in the 29th minute, before Bukayo Saka had the best chance of the half.
The Englishman went through on goal and turned past his marker before shooting. However, former Arsenal man Bernd Leno raced off his line and denied Saka with a point-blank save.
Arsenal had chances through Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Jesus after the break, only for Aleksandar Mitrovic to put Fulham ahead with 56 minutes gone.
Gabriel Magalhaes failed to clear in the box and this allowed Mitrovic to steal from him before finishing into the bottom corner. This marked his 100th goal in a Fulham shirt.
The visitors’ lead lasted eight minutes as Odegaard soon dragged Arsenal level.
Saka played the Norwegian in and he took a shot at goal. A deflection wrong-footed Leno, giving Odegaard his third goal of the season.
Both teams had good opportunities as the game went on, but it was Gabriel who got the winner in the 86th minute – and atoned for his earlier error.
An Arsenal corner came in and Leno was crowded out, allowing Gabriel to finish into an open goal.
Mikel Arteta happy as Arsenal get another win
The victory saw Arsenal continue their 100 per cent winning streak in the Premier League. And it left the Emirates bouncing, with fans jubilant after the continuation of the club’s purple patch.
During a post-match interview with Sky Sports (via BBC Sport), Arteta spoke about the relationship with the club’s fans.
“Big boost, winning like this is really nice,” he said. “We made a mistake and they punished us but then how we reacted against adversity, the connection with the supporters, the way we went about it, the team believed.
“They wanted to win the match, they went for it and we managed to do it.”
On Gabriel, Arteta continued: “It shows his character and how far he has come. His mentality and the way he looks after himself, I am really happy [with].
“Now it is onto the next one. We have another two games this week – we have to prepare and recover well. Every game in this league is so demanding.
“Really physical and really quality teams with top coaches that make every game difficult.”
Mikel Arteta was then asked if this win was the start of a serious title challenge. It seems he doesn’t want anyone at Arsenal getting ahead of themselves.
“No, this is just the start of the season. We are in a long, long marathon.”
An amazing feeling, says Odegaard
During a post-match interview with Sky Sports, goalscorer Odegaard said: “It was brilliant. We knew it was going to be a tough game. We fought, showed great team spirit and it’s an amazing feeling.
“Played really well in the first half, we just missed the goal but that happens. He [Gabriel] showed great character to come back and score the winning goal. It shows the character of the team. When someone makes a mistake, we lift them back up.
“We have to stay calm, take it game by game, work hard and win the next game. That’s the mindset.”
When asked about the atmosphere among the fans, Odegaard added: “It’s a great chemistry. We made a mistake with the first goal but they kept supporting us. We’re grateful for all the support we get.”
Match-winner Gabriel said: “After I lost the ball my head was down, but my brothers kept saying ‘let’s go’. I lifted my head up – my team-mates were a big help to me.”
On his goal potentially being ruled out, the defender continued: “After the referee said handball, I just asked God. I’m so happy with my team and the three points. It’s a big fight. I’m so happy.”
Meanwhile, Carlo Ancelotti says a Real Madrid player is ‘evaluating’ his future amid rumours of a switch to Man Utd or Arsenal.
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