Mikel Arteta was impressed with the way his midfield and attack created chances against Leeds on a day when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang helped himself to a hat-trick and Hector Bellerin finished off a tidy team move to secure a 4-2 win at the Emirates.
In the absence of the injured Thomas Partey and with Nicolas Pepe dropping to the bench, the Gunners lined up with Dani Ceballos and Granit Xhaka in the midfield behind Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka providing width on either side of Aubameyang.
It was a setup that caught the eye in the first half as the players showed off their technical quality as well as great movement off the ball.
“I thought it [the side’s creativity] was much better,” Arteta told his post-game press conference.
“We were much more efficient and we were much more composed. We took our time when it was needed, we faked movement, we had runs in behind and we had people in the box and people arriving into the box.
“Our decision-making was much better and then the efficiency when we were hitting the last shot, many of those were on target and that’s the difference when you want to score goals.”
Speaking to Sky Sports, Arteta credited Odegaard for his energy and composure on the ball and he later spoke in similarly glowing terms about Saka, who won a penalty which was converted by Aubameyang, and Ceballos, making his first start in a month, who setup Bellerin.
“Saka is playing really well,” said the Spaniard. “He can still get much better. He’s got that room, he’s got the intelligence and he’s got the desire so his aim has to be to do better, to score more goals, be more efficient in the final third and there’s a lot of things he needs to do better defensively as well to improve day by day, because he’s got the ability.”
On Ceballos, he added: “I thought he was terrific, Dani. To play the way he has done against this type of man-marking team, where it’s really difficult to get on the ball and have some time and play with the quality that he had, then overall I think he had a really good game.”