After watching Arsenal produce a slick attacking display and his captain score a confidence boosting hat-trick, Mikel Arteta praised his players focus despite a difficult start to the season.
A young West Brom side were swatted away with ease by the Gunners who scored three times in each half to record Mikel Arteta’s biggest win as a manager.
Tipped by the bookies to be the Premier League’s first managerial casualty of the fledgling season, the win, which was coupled with a clean sheet, was a welcome relief for the Spaniard ahead of Saturday’s trip to Manchester City.
“The spirit has been really positive, to be fair,” said Arteta in his post-game press conferene.
“I’m really pleased to win tonight, to score six goals away from home, to get a clean sheet and to be in the next round. But I’m even more pleased about the preparation during the last two days and the togetherness and dedication the players are showing, how much they want to turn the situation around.
“I’m really happy for them and for the fans – that we can give them something to cheer, because we had a lot of supporters here tonight.
He added: “When you lose a game, you have to win as quickly as possible. Today’s match is going to give us some confidence.
“We had some players playing their first minutes – for example Auba – so to get some minutes and score three goals is going to be great for his confidence.”
Aubameyang showed his poacher’s instincts to snaffles two goals on the rebound before the break but it was the way he struck his third – a trademark curler after cutting in off the left – that the player and fans enjoyed the most.
After a difficult last campaign in which his numbers dropped dramatically, it bodes well. Arteta thinks that playing in front of packed terraces helps the Gabon international.
“Obviously he’s a really happy character and he needs that connection with people, with family, with friends, with fans,” he said. “You could see the interaction when he left the pitch. I think that’s something really positive for him, yes.”
Arteta also had warm words for Martin Odegaard who made his first start for the Gunners after joining in a permanent deal from Real Madrid.
“He loves drifting into that right-side pocket, coming deep and he needs freedom to play,” said Arteta.
“He needs players around him to follow and understand him because the moment he has time on the ball he’s a real threat.
“He glides players together. He attracts players. He’s really confident on the ball. He can take the ball anywhere on the pitch and he gives us that continuity. I think tonight he was really good.”