Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal proved their ‘big team’ credentials vs Bournemouth – ‘it was madness’
Mikel Arteta thinks Arsenal’s dramatic 3-2 victory over AFC Bournemouth proved that they are a “big team” capable of challenging for major accolades.
The Gunners fell behind after just 11 seconds at the Emirates as Philip Billing scored the second-quickest goal in Premier League history.
The hosts were in big trouble in the second half as Marcos Senesi doubled Bournemouth’s lead with half an hour to go.
Arsenal showed great character to bring the game level not too long after as Thomas Partey and Ben White got on the scoresheet.
It looked as if Arteta’s team would have to settle for a point but Reiss Nelson fired home a stunning winner seven minutes into added time to make it 3-2.
This win restores Arsenal’s five-point advantage at the top of the Premier League. Man City had earlier closed in on their rivals as they beat Newcastle United 2-0 at the Etihad at midday.
Arteta believes that this win is going “to stick with them” during what is bound to be a tense run-in.
“It was madness from the first second. We kept trying and dominating the game. We had a mountain to climb and we took it bit by bit,” Arteta told Match of the Day.
“We had the hunger to go for the first goal. From then the atmosphere changed. Reiss Nelson hasn’t featured much because he has been injured. He comes on and puts in that performance. It was incredible to experience the emotion with the crowd. It’s going to stick with us.
“I am going to remember this day for a few things. I loved the initiative, the courage, their personality and the way they made things happen.
“When its ugly and when its difficult, that’s what big teams do. We have to make it easier for ourselves. But this is the Premier League.
“The opponents are good and they make it hard for you. Now we have the Europa League – many games coming up. We’re going to need everyone at their best.”
Nelson admitted that Arsenal are going to “need moments” like the one he produced if they are going to win the title.
“When the ball came out to me I was thinking ‘please give me one chance’. I’m buzzing, really happy. I controlled it with my right foot and it came onto my left,” Nelson said after his dramatic winner.
“We need moments like this if we want to go all the way. We’re not looking at any other team at the minute. We are focusing on ourselves. We will keep going day-by-day, game-by-game. As an Arsenal fan, I’m just delighted with the result.”
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