Mikel Arteta admitted his side were not at their best today as they beat West Ham 2-1 at the London Stadium, but declared himself pleased with an ‘ugly’ win and three hugely important points.
The Gunners went into this game knowing that Sp*rs had beaten Leicester and only a win would take them back above the old enemy, and perhaps that pressure told in the first half in particular.
Rob Holding headed us into the lead only for West Ham to get one back before the break, before Gabriel completed a centre-half double with a header from a Gabriel Martinelli cross for the goal which turned out to be the winner.
Speaking afterwards, the Arsenal boss was delighted with the win, despite how scrappy the overall performance was at times.
“It’s a massive win, under very difficult circumstances because we put ourselves in real problems, especially with our decision making and in ball possessions, and the spaces we were attacking, and the timing of it and the efficiency of it,” he said.
“But the team showed huge character, not to give up, to continue trying to do the right things.
“The way they fought, the way they understood how they have to manage the game in certain moments, with the way we defended, because we didn’t concede anything, it was phenomenal.
“In England you say ‘win ugly’, I think from my point of view today we won ugly, and I’m extremely happy to see a team that has this capacity to find a way to win and show the character that they showed today.”
However, he refused to blame the paucity of the performance on feeling pressure or nerves as the stakes grow increasingly high each week.
“No, I think when you have to pass the ball from A to B under pressure or under no pressure, I think this is an excuse,” he continued.
“Today we were just sloppy at times, imprecise and that led to a game that we didn’t want to play in in many moments, but we recognise that and sometimes it happens, to play here against this team is not easy at all, and we found another way to win the match today.”