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  • By Charlie Stong at Emirates Stadium

Arteta hails "connection" between fans and players as crowd roars Gunners on to vital win against Liverpool

Mikel Arteta hailed the Emirates atmosphere as an important factor in Arsenal's dominant 3-1 win over Liverpool this afternoon.

Arsenal’s 60,000-seat home was today as loud as it was at any time last season - and noticeably the best atmosphere of this season so far.

The Arsenal fans clearly recognised the importance of roaring their team to a victory which means the Gunners are now just two points behind the Merseysiders at the top of the Premier League table.

And Arteta, who often spoke about the "connection" between the fans and players at the Emirates last season, was full of praise for both fans and his team this afternoon.

Speaking at his post-match press conference, Arteta said: "It was an extraordinary game, an incredible performance from our team and our people. The best atmosphere this season, the connection was there again.

"The players put their heart and soul into every ball. I know how hard it is to beat this team (Liverpool)."

Arsenal had to win this game not once, but twice. Bukayo Saka had given the Ginners the lead after 14 minutes, but a mix-up in the defence allowed Luis Diaz to nip in behind William Saliba and force an own goal off Gabriel.

After dominating an FA Cup tie they ultimately lost to the same opponents on this ground just four weeks ago, a sense of deja vu engulfed the Emirates as another fine 45 minutes left Arsenal with only a 1-1 scoreline to show for their efforts at half-time.

But this time Arsenal responded - and pushed forward for the vital win in the second period.

Arteta said: "We conceded that goal and we deserved much more (from the first half) but you cannot feel sorry for yourself. We modified a few things and gave ourselves the chance to win the game."

Liverpool's own calamity came on 67 minutes when Virgil Van Diijk held off Martinelli as Alisson came charging out in an attempt to clear. 

But the goalkeeper missed the ball completely, allowing Martinelli to nip in to tap into an empty net for 2-1.

Substitute Leandro Trossard made the game safe at 3-1 in stoppage time.

Arteta added: "We needed to recharge (after Chrostmas) and now we have some momentum, three wins in a row. 

“We did it against the most in-form team in Europe. Now we have to do it against West Ham because when we play like that we are a very difficult team to beat.

“We are there (in the title race) and we want to continue to be there."

On Martinelli, Arteta said: "I think he looks really confident, really fab. 

“He was a real threat today, not only for the goal but he was very streetwise and cheeky to do what he did (for the goal).

“But you need big performances to beat teams like this and they were all at their best today.”


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