Premier League • England

Mikel Arteta explains vital impact on Arsenal goal, as ‘rollercoaster’ claim made

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta says he ‘couldn’t help himself’ when getting involved in a quick Arsenal throw-in, which helped the Gunners score against Watford.

Arsenal won 3-2 at Vicarage Road to go back into the top four ahead of the Manchester derby later on Sunday. And it was a game full of high-quality finishing.

Bukayo Saka starred and had an early impact, linking up with Martin Odegaard before the Norwegian completed a composed finish.

Watford drew level thanks to a brilliant Cucho Hernandez overhead kick, only for Saka to restore their lead with a great strike of his own with 30 minutes gone.

Gabriell Martinelli guided one into the top corner after the interval to make it 3-1. Arsenal had a late scare when Moussa Sissoko pulled one back for the Hornets, but the North London outfit managed to see out the win.

During a post-match interview with BBC Sport, Arteta said: “Credit to Watford, they are fighting for their lives. They changed their team and it is hard to beat them.

“We are getting better and better, the understanding between the players is getting better and we should have scored more today.”

Mikel Arteta admits he ‘took advantage’

In the build up to Martinelli’s goal, Arteta picked up the ball for Arsenal and got Saka to take a quick throw-in – which caught Watford out.

“I saw the ball there and saw an opportunity to take an advantage,” Arteta said. “I don’t know if I should have done it but that is the way I live the game and I couldn’t help myself.

“I see how willing they [the players] are every day to train and improve. I think they are enjoying playing together and when some days, it is not your best day, you somehow manage to win and that is important.

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“We have to be very honest with ourselves and our defensive structure was not good enough today. We allowed some chances and it is something we will work on.”

Arteta went on to admit that managing Arsenal can be like riding a ‘rollercoaster’. “We are there now [in the top four] and we’ll go game by game,” he said. “Every game is a rollercoaster, we have three big games coming up in a week.”

Arsenal star reveals UCL ‘dream’

Goalscorer Saka told Sky Sports after the win: “This is the dream this year to be in the top four and qualify for Champions League football. We have to stay humble and focus on ourselves.”

Captain Alexandre Lacazette was also asked if Arsenal would be supporting Manchester City when they host Manchester United in the 16:30 kick-off. A City win would see Arsenal remain in fourth and keep United behind the Gunners. Lacazette said simply: “Yes.”

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