Premier League • England

Arteta acknowledges key Arsenal man ‘deserves’ more after ‘ugly’ win against West Ham

Mikel Arteta managing Arsenal

Mikel Arteta admitted Rob Holding deserves to be playing more after his impactful performance for Arsenal in their “ugly” win over West Ham United.

Arsenal moved back into the top four with a 2-1 win over West Ham at the London Stadium on Sunday. It was set in motion by Holding scoring his first ever Premier League goal, before Gabriel Magalhaes scored to restore the advantage after Jarrod Bowen’s equaliser.

After north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur had leapfrogged them earlier in the day by beating Leicester City, Arsenal made sure they ended the day back in fourth. They will hope to stay there after their last four games of the season.

Arteta will be hoping some of them go more smoothly than this one. Indeed, he felt Arsenal “won ugly” against West Ham after adapting to the style of the game.

But he was particularly pleased for man of the match Holding, who was influential in those efforts.

Arteta told BBC Sport: “You have to find a way to win and today we won ugly. We have to recognise that is the way we had done it.

“We showed incredible spirit because when we could play the way we wanted to play we had to find a way to play the way they prefer – we adapted.

“You have to find a way to win all the time to win – forcing mistakes, being brilliant, digging in, clean sheets.

“I am really happy, especially for Rob Holding as he hasn’t played the amount of minutes he deserves. He was man of the match today. He is always there when we need him.”

Arteta admits pressure on in top-four battle between Arsenal and Tottenham

Arsenal are two points ahead of Tottenham – who albeit have a superior goal difference if they can eliminate that gap – going into the final stretch of the season.

Asked if the battle for fourth place could go all the way, Arteta replied: “Let’s see.

“Another seven days to prepare for the match. The pressure is there and we both won so let’s go.”

Arsenal are next in action when they host Leeds United next Sunday, one day after Tottenham visit Liverpool. Then, the two north London clubs will go head to head in a hugely significant clash on Thursday 12th May.

That should give further clues as to the likelihood of either club returning to Champions League level. Arteta will likely be putting a lot of work in to make sure it is Arsenal.

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