Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta enjoyed the perfect Sunday afternoon as his side completed the first half of their Premier League campaign by reaching 50 points with a 3-2 win over Manchester United.
Two goals by Eddie Nketiah and one from Bukayo Saka — both products of Arsenal’s academy— sealed the win that lifted Arsenal five points clear of Manchester City.
It is their best-ever start to a Premier League campaign and while there is a long way to go, Arteta’s young side is growing in the belief that they can stay the course.
No wonder the Spaniard said “it doesn’t get much better than this” as he evaluated a deserved victory over a United side that now finds itself 11 points in arrears.
“Emotional, a lot of passion, a lot of quality. It doesn’t get much better than that. After the Derby (against Tottenham), to come against this team and play the way we played. The second half especially, the performance was incredible,” he said.
Arsenal had to shake off the blow of going behind to a Marcus Rashford goal and then were pegged back to 2-2 when Lisandro Martinez punished a mistake by home keeper Aaron Ramsdale. But they ended the game in dominant fashion.
Arteta’s side showed great maturity in the closing stages, pinning United back with their intensity. “We were composed and determined. We managed the moments in the game. We never panicked. We always believed that we could win it,” Arteta said.
“We showed the right composure in the box a lot of times but the ball didn’t go in. Thankfully at the end it did.”
Arsenal full-back Oleksandr Zinchenko, who has experienced title-winning seasons with Manchester City, said the victory so late was extra sweet.
“The winning feeling in the last minute, the last second. It’s something you cannot describe,” he said. “Today was unbelievable.”
‘Defensive errors’ cost United
London: Erik ten Hag blamed defensive mistakes as his Manchester United side went down 3-2 against Premier League leaders Arsenal on Sunday.
“It was a great game with a lot of tempo and the audience is the big winner,” Ten Hag, whose side is in fourth place behind Newcastle United on goal difference, told the BBC.
“Two top teams but of course we are disappointed when you lose this game at a late stage. All the goals we conceded today are mistakes — it can’t happen.
“Even last week, we were so hard to beat in such situations. Today we were not. All three goals, we could have avoided,” Dutchman Ten Hag said. “They are very good on the ball but we are a good defending team.
“There were not a lot of open chances. We made mistakes which we cannot make. This game was decided by small details but also the decision-making. That is hard to accept.”