Sead Kolasinac says Arsenal’s aggression made the difference as Unai Emery’s men kept their chances of a top four finish alive with a 2-0 win over London rivals Chelsea.
First half goals from Alex Lacazette and Laurent Koscielny put the home side in a commanding position at the break and although the Blues finished the game having made nearly twice as many passes, the Gunners held firm to secure an unusual clean sheet.
“I think our aggression [made the difference] – we were very strong in the duels and had two really good chances in the first 10 minutes,” Kolasinac told Arsenal.com.
“We didn’t take them, and that pushed us on further, along with the fans’ support. We really deserved to go in front and what was so important was that we scored the second before half-time too.
“That brought us stability, and then in the second half we had to defend, which we did. I’m pleased we kept a clean sheet too and that, together with the three points, made it a very satisfying evening.
He added: “A clean sheet like that is important for us, especially for the back four and Bernd. It pushes us on and stabilises us ahead of the next game.
“I think we worked really well as a back four today, but you can’t forget the work of the midfielders who were excellent – Matteo [Guendouzi] on my side, Lucas [Torreira] and Granit [Xhaka] in the middle.
“They had to run a lot and they did that for the team. That made it easier for us.”
Granit Xhaka was equally pleased with the character shown and the three points.
Having anchored a midfield diamond that worked their socks off, the Swiss said: “It’s unbelievable.
“We had a [difficult] game against West Ham away and we knew that if we did’t win today it would be difficult, but we showed amazing character and team spirit. They also didn’t score against us, so we are happy to take the three points.
“We said before the game that if you don’t fight and you don’t win the duels then it will be difficult because Chelsea have a good team. They have quality on the ball so we’re happy today.”