Interview

Arteta's delight at performances under pressure

Mikel Arteta is delighted that despite his players being under pressure to fight for the Premier League title, they’re still putting in performances of the calibre of our 3-0 success against Bournemouth.

Goals from Bukayo Saka, Leandro Trossard and Declan Rice capped off a fine afternoon’s work at Emirates Stadium as we continued to do everything in our power to push Manchester City all the way and pounce on any slip to claim our first title in 20 years.

Unlike last season when we saw our form dip at the crucial moment, we have won 14 of our last 16 in the Premier League and each of our last four to once again reach our club record of 26 wins in a Premier League campaign, proving we are a very different outfit to 12 months ago in managing the expectations placed upon us, before and during matches.

Following the win against the Cherries, Mikel said: “With what is at stake and the stage of the season we are in, to perform the way we have done today, especially in the first half, I thought it was one of the best that we played all season.

“It was really positive, a lot of energy, players making decisions to impact the game and make things happen - I loved it. We were very unlucky not to score four or five, and then when you don’t do that, you have to navigate for certain difficult moments, and we did. 

“Obviously we have to be more ruthless in front of goal, with a lot of chances and situations we generated. The scoreline should have been very, very different. Sometimes when you don’t finish the game, it can get a bit different and the momentum of the game can shift, and you have to be prepared for that and I think the team did really well to handle it.

“I think the moment is driven by energy, enthusiasm and finding joy in this journey, and being in the title race at this stage of the season. We have to continue to do the same.”

The boss was also thrilled that David Raya managed to record the clean sheet he required to ensure that he won the Premier League Golden Glove outright, and feels it is an achievement that the whole team should take pride in.

Reflecting on Raya keeping 15 clean sheets in 30 appearances, he added: “That’s unbelievable. You need a really good goalkeeper, you need players individually with the level of understanding and commitment and love of defending to achieve that, and that’s a big, big number for the team.”

Video

In Focus: Saka's dazzling display v Bournemouth

Bukayo Saka gave us the lead from the penalty spot in Saturday’s 3-0 win over AFC Bournemouth, and you can now take a closer look at his performance with In Focus!

The penalty was Bukayo’s third direct goal contribution in the last three games, having also scored against Tottenham Hotspur and registered an assist in our 5-0 win over Chelsea.

Watch his tireless display against the Cherries by pressing play on the video above.

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