Arsenal's star striker 'has a future here' insists happy Gunners boss Arteta
Mikel Arteta expressed his pleasure despite watching Arsenal live dangerously towards the end of an enthralling 3-2 victory over a spirited Everton.
The Gunners boss had captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to thank due to a double which ultimately proved conclusive.
However the Blues took a shock first minute lead through Dominic Calvert-Lewin before Arsenal showed sufficient character to recover with an equaliser initially from Eddie Nketiah to restore faith.
The win takes the north Londoners into ninth place, a point above Everton - with a target of fifth and a possible Champions League spot still an outside possibility. There was, though, a setback with defender Sead Kolasinac going off early on with a suspected dislocated shoulder.
Coming back from a 1-0 Europa League success over Olympiakos in Athens on Thursday before the return leg of the last 32 tie at home this week, Arsenal’s resources appear to be at full stretch. Indeed, their midfield in particular felt the pace of a see-saw contest towards the end as Carlo Ancelotti’s outfit pressed for what would have been a merited leveller.
“I’m really pleased with the performance,” said Arteta. “It is not easy to play three times in seven days as well as conceding an early goal. But the team reacted straight away and created chances and scored goals.
“We started to dominate but in the last 25 minutes you could see our energy dropped and we made changes, although they played better than us by then.
“This was the reaction I want from my team. We started to do the things we talked about.”
Aubameyang had a productive afternoon – the Gabon striker has now 19 goals this season and Arteta, naturally, hailed his efforts.
“I’m so happy with him and he has scored plenty of goals for months,” the Arsenal chief added. “As captain he shows a great example and works hard, he’s willing and has a habit of winning. Other clubs are completely right to want him but he has a future here. He really enjoys being on the pitch and is feeling very much a part of what we are trying to do here.
“A player like him has big expectations. He wants to be up with the biggest players in the world at the biggest clubs. It’s just down to him to do it every three days. We show our appreciation when he scores goals.”
Ancelotti, meanwhile, lamented Everton’s defensive problems on a day when they should have taken a point, having finished strongly with Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin in particular so vital to the Merseysider’s cause.
“I’m very disappointed,” Ancelotti admitted. “We had to attack well and we did but we didn’t defend well. So we can’t be satisfied if you want to win here. We had a lot of opportunities but defensively we are poor and this is for us next week, to defend better. The easiest way to defend is to get closer to the ball.
“We started well and were lucky to score at beginning, but we conceded two goals too easily and were not in good positions. In the second half we were very dangerous with two fantastic strikers (Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin).
“It’s not easy to score two goals away. Richarlison was unbelieveable in my opinion but he worked hard as well as Dominic. The team is improving a lot and are more confident on the ball.”