Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has praised his squad’s fringe players following his team’s outstanding win away at Chelsea on Wednesday. The Gunners won 4-2 in the Premier League fixture to get right back into the top four race.
Eyebrows were raised by Arteta’s team selection before kick-off. A number of first-team players missed out through injury, including Kieran Tierney, Thomas Partey and Alexandre Lacazette.
In their place were players who have barely featured for the Gunners this season, such as Eddie Nketiah, Mohamed Elneny and Rob Holding. The selection paid off for Arteta as the visitors ended a run of three straight defeats to secure a huge victory in the London derby.
Nketiah scored his first and second Premier League goals of the campaign. Meanwhile, Emile Smith Rowe finished off a beautiful counter-attack before Bukayo Saka tucked away a late penalty to secure Arsenal’s win.
In his post-match press conference, Arteta spoke of those who deputized against Chelsea. He praised them for waiting for their chance and taking the opportunity when it finally arrived.
As per Football.London, the Arsenal boss said:
“What I’ve been saying all the time about Eddie. When you look at him in training and how humble he is all the time, good things happen. Good things happen to good people. The same with Mo Elneny and Rob Holding.”
Arteta delighted with Arsenal win over Chelsea
It has been a miserable couple of weeks for the Gunners, having lost three consecutive games. All of those defeats were to mid-table Premier League sides, and they scored just once during that time.
Those results, coupled with several injury problems, led many to believe that they had once again blown their chance to qualify for the Champions League.
However, Arsenal somehow pulled a performance out of the bag against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge to prove the doubters wrong. His team are now level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur. However, their great rivals are ahead of them on goal difference (18-10).
The 40-year-old manager couldn’t contain his delight in the post-match conference, telling reporters:
“What I love is the spirit of these players. When you lose matches you get punished and criticised but with these players I don’t care because they’re growing. For us to win a London derby away the way we did it I’m really happy as well”
Arteta was later asked what he said to his players before the match against Chelsea, to which he replied:
“I said to them if you want to play Champions League football you have to come to places like this and win.”