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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at the Etihad

Arteta reaction to draw at the Etihad : 'Our defending was outstanding'

Arsenal claimed a second clean sheet in a row against Man City - achieving a rare shutout for visitors to the Etihad - and Mikel Arteta said it spoke volumes of his players' discipline and commitment.

The game was billed as a potential title showdown - the last meeting between the three contenders this season - but it failed to live up to the hype, as the teams cancelled each other out in a game of very few chances.

But the Gunners' boss was delighted with how his team stood up to the challenge and they remain very much in the hunt for that elusive title, even if they surrendered top spot today to Liverpool.

"It was a really tough match against a very demanding opponent and I think we competed really, really well and I think defensively we were outstanding," Arteta said.

"We had to put them under pressure higher up the pitch. They get you in a low block and it's very hard to get out of that but I think we prevented them spaces really well.

"It's the first time they haven't scored at home in three years - that shows the outstanding team that they are. The downside is we had some big situations and didn't make the most out of it and I think the next big step is to have much more composure in the first phase to attack better.

"Clean sheets against City are extremely difficult to do but that tells you the commitment of every player, the discipline they showed and how they compete."

Asked about what the result meant in terms of the run in, the Gunners' boss said: "I don't know. You want to win the game. We prepared to win it and if we could not win it, we wanted to make sure we draw it and we did that. You have to continue to make steps as a team and try to improve and today we did that.

"They are the best team in the world in my opinion by far with the best manager in the world by far and we have to catch up and try to be better than them and that's the challenge ahead of us."

The key to coping with a lack of possession was 'clarity' according to the Spaniard.

"Before the game, we said are you ready to follow 30 passes. If it's yes, then OK, you can play against Manchester City. It's so important. If you are not ready to do that, you cannot play against them.

"Now this result generates belief and continues the momentum."

Pep Guardiola praised Arsenal, saying: "They are an exceptional team. I praise them for the many good things they do. When I see how they play, we cannot be 16 points in front but still we are there [in the race]. "


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