Mikel Arteta has heaped praise on Arsenal for their ‘beautiful’ 3-2 victory against Manchester United on Sunday, while also revealing he ‘loved’ the personality his players demonstrated.
Arsenal went behind in the 17th minute when Marcus Rashford beat Aaron Ramsdale with a powerful right-footed effort. But Eddie Nketiah capitalised on Aaron Wan-Bissaka sleeping at the back post seven minutes later to head Arsenal level.
The Gunners then took the lead after the interval, with Bukayo Saka picking out the far bottom corner on his left foot.
There was much more drama to be had, though. Ramsdale failed to deal with a Man Utd corner and this allowed Lisandro Martinez to head over the line.
Ultimately, it was Arsenal who had the last laugh when Nketiah flicked home from close range in the 90th minute, giving Arteta’s men all three points.
During a post-match interview with BBC Sport, Arteta reacted to the win and subsequent celebrations by calling it ‘beautiful’.
“I really enjoyed it. It was a beautiful moment at the end and we get going with our people behind us. It was beautiful,” he said.
When asked about the offside check for Nketiah’s winner, Arteta added: “I wasn’t sure; they were looking at something we hadn’t seen and we [were] very relieved. We got to celebrate twice.”
The Spaniard continued: “We showed a lot of emotional control – being 1-0 down to Manchester United is very tricky. They will kill you in big distances but we came back into the game. We stayed focused and I love this personality the players showed. We found the opening to win the game.
“They do surprise me with how they react. We encourage them to play free-flowing football and there is energy in the team and good things happen.
“To do it repeatedly against big teams, the way we played today, gives me a lot of positivity for the future. It is so tight now in the league, there are such small margins. Winning, losing or drawing, you have to be be conscious of that. If we can capitalise on the energy, it will be positive.”
Bukayo Saka reacts to Thierry Henry comparison
During a post-match interview with Sky Sports, Saka reacted to the win by saying: “You can see how much it means to everyone. They’re the only team that have beaten us this season so we really wanted to beat them for the fans.
“We know how important this win is for us. It wasn’t easy and it definitely wasn’t our best start to the game but we showed a lot of character to come back and get the win.”
By scoring on Sunday afternoon, Saka joined Freddie Ljungberg and Thierry Henry by becoming the third player to net in three consecutive games against Man Utd. When asked about this feat, Saka continued: “Hello Freddie, hello Thierry – I’m happy. I was so close to getting two but I’m just so happy I got that first one and it gave me confidence to keep shooting.”
On this season being Arsenal’s best start to a Premier League campaign, the winger added: “That’s really significant. It’s something we can be proud of but we have to stay humble. It’s only halfway through the season and things can change very quickly.
“But if we keep playing like we have then we’ll be in a good place at the end of the season, we just have to keep it up.”
Saka was then asked what is behind Arsenal’s success this term. He responded: “Firstly, the belief we have. Especially at the Emirates with our fans and how they support us. We went 1-0 down and they still support, they don’t know how much that helps us.
“The way the coach is setting us up, too, and the players the coach has brought in.”