Premier League leaders Arsenal have had their title credentials questioned all season however their last-gasp win against Manchester United has silenced most of the remaining doubters.
Eddie Nketiah scored the winner within the dying moments of a pulsating match on the Emirates on Sunday as the house followers have been infused with contemporary perception that this could possibly be their yr.
The sport towards in-form United was seen as a important check for the Gunners, particularly after Manchester Metropolis closed the hole on the prime of the desk to simply two factors earlier within the day.
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It was a problem they didn’t fluff, hitting again onerous after conceding the primary aim, scored by Marcus Rashford, and staying calm after Lisandro Martinez cancelled out Bukayo Saka’s strike within the second half.
Arsenal, who’ve made their best-ever begin to an English top-flight season, now have 50 factors after 19 video games — 5 away from defending champions Metropolis with a recreation in hand on the half-way level of the marketing campaign.
“I don’t assume it will get significantly better than that,” stated a buoyant Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta.
“It was a ravishing second, a very particular one as a result of we have been pushing and pushing and pushing and the aim wasn’t coming and it got here on the finish… it was simply electrical. It was actually emotional, actually passionate and I misplaced it.”
Arteta stated he hopes the consequence, which follows final week’s 2-0 win towards Tottenham within the north London derby, provides his group the assumption that Arsenal may be topped league champions for the primary time since 2004.
However he desires to maintain his group’s toes on the bottom regardless of a exceptional season through which they’ve misplaced simply as soon as within the league.
“We all know our actuality, we all know how a lot we nonetheless have to enhance,” stated the Spaniard, who was beforehand Pep Guardiola’s assistant at Metropolis.
– Winnable matches –
Arsenal face the defending champions in the midst of subsequent month however their upcoming fixtures all look winnable and it’s getting more and more tough to see the place they may slip up.
Leaving the match towards Metropolis apart, Arsenal’s subsequent opponents within the league are relegation-threatened Everton, Brentford, Aston Villa, Leicester, Bournemouth, Fulham, Crystal Palace and Leeds.
Metropolis, with title-winning pedigree, seem to have discovered their type once more after a wobble and the perimeters on the backside of the desk will combat for his or her lives because the entice door looms.
However former Arsenal captain Arteta has reworked his aspect from also-rans final season into title favourites, by means of luck and judgment.
Saka has gone from power to power whereas Nketiah has stepped up within the absence of recent signing Gabriel Jesus, injured whereas enjoying for Brazil on the World Cup.
The 23-year-old now has six targets in six video games in all competitions for the reason that match in Qatar.
“What Eddie’s doing is unimaginable,” stated Arteta. “We can’t say we noticed that. We have been hoping that he may try this due to the way in which he’s, due to his mentality, due to his qualities.”
When requested to sum up the primary half of the season, Arteta stated it was “extraordinary” however was once more cautious to keep away from the impression that his group are the completed article.
“It doesn’t get significantly better than that, that’s the fact,” he stated. “I believe we deserve the factors that we have now.
“Now we have performed nicely sufficient to win a lot of the matches however the actuality as nicely is that we nonetheless have loads of issues that we will get significantly better at.”
So does he imagine Arsenal at the moment are favourites for the title, on target to win the Premier League for the primary time since Arsene Wenger’s final triumph almost 20 years in the past?
“I don’t have an opinion,” he stated. “It may be a notion. I do know my group so nicely, I do know the place we’re, I do know why we’re right here and I do know the place we wish to be.
“And we’re nonetheless removed from that and I do know the extent of the opposite groups, particularly one which has gained all the pieces within the final 5 or 6 years and we’re not there but.”