Mikel Arteta says Arsenal must continue to take points from the Premier League’s top teams after ending a 2,114 day wait for an away victory in the Premier League at a ‘Big Six’ rival.
Having beaten Manchester City and Chelsea in the FA Cup at Wembley and with two penalty shootout wins over Liverpool, the Gunners have, via a couple of setbacks, slowly grown in confidence against their biggest rivals on the road.
Yesterday’s hard-fought 1-0 win against Manchester United at Old Trafford further enhances hope that a perennial away-day problem is finally being rectified.
“We have to beat the top teams if we want to be fighting with them,” Arteta told Arsenal.com.
“It’s something we haven’t been able to do in the last few years, especially away from home. We have to improve. There is that gap and we have to make it as small as possible, as quick as possible. This is the challenge that we are facing.”
After slipping up at home last weekend, Arteta was pleased with the way his players learned their lesson to grind out a win.
“It came back through my mind with what happened against Leicester, a game that we really dominated where we were the better team in the first half.
“In the second half then, we couldn’t find a way to win the game. Today we’ve done it and we looked very mature.
“The way we managed the last few minutes is getting better and better. We have people coming off the bench really helping, and individually the players who were required at that stage had a great game.”
Mohamed Elneny, a candidate for man-of-the-match following an energetic display alongside Thomas Partey, also revelled in the victory. He says his teammates were confident of getting on the scoresheet thanks to their on-pitch shape.
“It feels really amazing, I feel really happy,” Elneny told Arsenal.com.
“It is special to win against Manchester United here. We know it is a long time since we won here. We gave 100 per cent and everyone worked really hard for it.
“We know how special it is for us, that’s why we gave everything to win this game.
“No [we weren’t concerned about not scoring in the first half] because we spoke and said we have to keep on our game, even if we miss.
“We knew we were going to score because our shape was really good today and everyone just gave 100 per cent. We created more chances to score. But we didn’t worry, we knew we were going to win this game.”