Mikel Arteta says Arsenal still have room for improvement despite a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa maintaining their winning start to the new campaign.
Goals in each half from Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli sealed the points but, for a brief moment after compatriot Douglas Luiz equalised for the visitors straight from a corner, it looked like the Gunners might pay for their profligacy in front of goal.
The home side were particularly dominant in the first half but despite attempting 15 shots on goal went into the break with only a goal to their name.
After the match, Arteta said: “We are really happy because we are winning football matches that we deserve to win because of the way we are performing and playing.
“We need to continue, as I always say, there are a lot of things we have to improve and you see that in the second half.
“Obviously, the way we play in the first half, the amount of chances, how much we generated, how dominant we were, the energy played with is really pleasing as a coach. We go to the next one.”
He added: “It’s the most difficult thing in football to score goals, but today we had some big, big, big chances and we didn’t put them away, but obviously, the intention of the players is to score.
“The goal of Gabi Martinelli I think is a really difficult technique, the height of the ball, the angle he is getting, the way he is approaching the ball and he still managed to hit the target and that always gives you a chance. We are working on it all the time and I think we are getting much better and as always, there is room for improvement.”
It wasn’t the first time this season that Arsenal reacted to the blow of conceding by quickly scoring a goal of their own. After doing it twice against Leicester and on Saturday versus Fulham, Arteta’s players repeated the trick for a third successive game at the Emirates.
“That’s the mentality we want to show as a team and the character we want to show, to react immediately. Disappointment and conceding goals is part of the game, like is giving the ball away or having a bad action, it’s about the next action, the next phase and again, when you play in front of this crowd, that helps because the energy they create is just amazing.
He added: “Going through positive experiences and overcoming difficulties gives you the confidence that you can do it. That could be individually or as a team. When you start to get that belief and create those moments, it’s not just us that believes but the crowd that believes. When that connection happens anything is possible.”
Whether fair or not, Arsenal have developed a bit of a reputation for melting in the heat of battle and have often struggled in recent years to wrestle back momentum of matches.
Asked if he’s been working on that, Arteta replied: “Obviously we try to improve our players, we to try to improve the team, there are many things that aren’t just technical or tactical aspects that play a big part in football matches.
“That’s another tool that we are developing, we need to keep developing and especially when we are here [at home] it’s really powerful.”