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  • By Charlie Stong at Emirates Stadium

Arteta: We are able to play at this level

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta believes his players sent a message to themselves that they can now compete at the very highest level after their 3-1 win over Spurs at the Emirates yesterday.

The Gunners have in recent seasons faced accusations of being ‘flat-track bullies’ – able to swat aside the so-called smaller clubs, only to falter when up against the big boys.

It was a label which was aimed at them again a few weeks ago when they were beaten at Old Trafford – despite a decent performance in that game.

But against Spurs yesterday the Gunners were in control from the start and thoroughly deserved the win given to them thanks to goals from Thomas Partey, Gabriel Jesus and the born again Granit Xhaka.

Speaking after the game a beaming Arteta said: “The message is for the players and everybody here that we are able to play at this kind of level against these kinds of opponents, and that should give them confidence and belief.”

Arteta said he recognised in his players a renewed hunger and appetite following the recent international break.

He said: “I could sense that they were ready and focused. It goes further than the three points and you have to play with passion and coolness in your head, and the players did that today.

“When you get the right people and they start to connect with each other then that is delivered to the pitch, and when you connect with your fans it becomes something very powerful.”

The Gunners are now four points clear of second placed Manchester City – although City can cut the gap to just one if they beat their own rivals, United, this afternoon.

But Arteta said he was not getting carried away with the position in the table, and in response to being asked whether his team could now be considered title challengers, said: ““I leave that to you guys (the press).

“We are really happy with where we are. The table says what it says but it is not something that we look at.

“(Being top) is great. Seeing the club in this position gives you a great feeling but it is a really humble team. We have done nothing yet, we need to continue to improve.

“It was a great performance. It was an incredible atmosphere to play in, so we are grateful to all the people that connect with the team in such a special way.

“You could feel the players had the freedom and energy to go for it.”

Pictured top: Mikel Arteta (Picture: Charlie Stong)


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