Arsenal slipped out of the top four for a few hours on Sunday after Tottenham beat Leicester City in the early kick-off, but Mikel Arteta’s side rose to the occasion against West Ham
His side regained the advantage in their battle with north London rivals Tottenham in their battle for the fourth spot in the Premier League on Sunday. Spurs were victorious over Leicester City early in the afternoon, winning 3-1 at home thanks to a goal from Harry Kane and two from Son Heung-min.
The win means that Arsenal have leapfrogged Spurs in the table and hold a two-point lead with four games left to play. Arteta believes there were four key reasons why his side were able to secure all three points on Sunday. He 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 couldn’t 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 the man of the match today. He is always there when we need him.”
Finishing in the top four would be quite the achievement for Arsenal given that the club are still in the midst of a major rebuild. Arteta has orchestrated significant changes at the Emirates Stadium over the past few years, both in terms of players but also mentally and tactically.
The club spent £150million over the summer to bring a number of young stars to north London with the hope that they will be able to become a competitive outfit in the short term but become a force to be reckoned with as they develop and improve. But the club’s former striker Alan Smith believes that those new arrivals also have an aura of maturity and confidence, meaning that they are a more ‘streetwise’ outfit than they once were.
He said on Sky Sports: “(They’re a bit more streetwise than they used to be for so many years. We can remember the time when they are 2-1 up and leave themselves short. That ability to tick down the clock, it all helps to wire away the seconds.
“There’s a few natural leaders. Odegaard, he’s captained his country and he was captain today. There’s a good character in there. By far being their best performance today but they dug in and got a result.”
“I don’t think there’s many players like him (Odegaard) around. You compare him to someone like Christian Eriksen. He’s somebody that can make something happen, he takes responsibility and that’s quite rare for someone so young.
“I know a lot of Arsenal fans were asking if they want him back, but there’s not many like him and he’s only going to get better. It’s the youngest side and they are going to grow together and he’s going to be centre of it all.”