After Gabriel Martinelli’s late goal clinched Arsenal’s cathartic 1-0 victory against Manchester City, Mikel Arteta feels that Arsenal have breached a crucial barrier in their attempt to win the Premier League. Arteta made this statement after the match.
Martinelli’s goal in the 86th minute, which deflected off Nathan Ake and set off wild celebrations at the Emirates Stadium, was the first win for Arteta’s team over City in their previous 12 league encounters with the opposition.
For the first time since December 2015, the Gunners were able to taste a win against City, and they did it in the midst of euphoric scenes both on the field and among the 60,000 people who had purchased tickets to see the game.
In August, Arsenal had previously triumphed against City in a penalty shootout at Wembley in the Community Shield, and they had celebrated that victory with nearly as much gusto as they did Sunday’s victory.
But this was a much more significant outcome, since it did not occur in a glorified friendly but rather in the tense environment of a critical matchup between the defending champions and their closest competitors from the previous season.
Arsenal had an eight-point advantage at the top of the table in the month of April, but they were unable to hold on to it as the race came to a close, allowing City to win their third consecutive championship and complete an unprecedented triple.
Arteta and his players are not allowing the disappointment of the loss to deter them from winning the club’s first championship in the last two decades by using it as motivation.
In the final seconds of the second half, it was interesting to see Arsenal tigerishly drive City back as they hunted for a winner while the champions were satisfied with a point.
The perseverance of Arsenal was rewarded, and Arteta believes that this might prove to be a watershed point in the team’s evolution.
“It’s a fantastic sensation. You were able to feel it. It’s been so many years since we last defeated them, but today we can say without a shadow of a doubt that we’ve triumphed against the finest team in the world,” he said.
“We have accomplished so much in spite of the fact that there were times when we had to endure immense pain. It conveys to our team the idea that they should maintain their faith in the work that they are accomplishing.
“I’m not sure whether that was a roadblock, but it was something that we had to go beyond.
“During the previous season, they defeated us in two distinct methods. However, today the squad shown a great maturity, which is something that can only come through experiences.
“Everyone was dancing,” said the commentator. Second-placed Arsenal will enter the international break two points ahead of third-placed City, while first-placed Tottenham will enter the break ahead of their north London rivals on the basis of goals scored.
Arsenal demonstrated that they are capable of competing head-to-head with Pep Guardiola’s star-studded squad, putting to rest the painful memories of going 15 league games without a victory against Manchester City.
They only allowed City to take four shots, and they did not give the away team any opportunity to build their signature passing and movement.
“City officials are always grilling you with inquiries, and in certain regions they even threaten you. You need to have an extremely alert mind. It is not easy on the emotional front to pursue for fifteen or twenty minutes, he remarked.
“I thought the players were excellent, everyone was dancing in the dressing room afterwards!”
City has now suffered loss in two consecutive league games for the first time since December 2018, while the club’s most recent four matches across all competitions have resulted in three defeats.
When asked about the reason for City’s abrupt drop in performance after winning their first six games in the league this season, Guardiola referred to the absence of banned midfielder Rodri.
The Spaniard was out for each of City’s most recent losses, and it is instructive to note that they were victorious when he returned for their Champions League match against Leipzig midweek.
“That is a statistical fact. There is no way around it. We put guys in position to handle more passes, but Arsenal are active in these areas,’ said Guardiola.
“Rodri is an important player but he is not there for the reason everyone knows.”
After his squad completely dominated Arsenal in the previous season, Guardiola believes there is no danger in coming from behind in the championship battle.
In the history of the Premier League, no side has ever won four matches in a row. October has arrived this year. Perhaps it is to one’s advantage to fall behind and then make up lost ground. During the last campaign, we were quite far behind,” he said.
“I have known these players for a number of years, and we have worked together on a number of projects. It is a great honour and a delight to see them compete and compete against one another.