Football: Arsenal slowly ‘convincing’ themselves they can challenge City after win over Chelsea, says Arteta

Arsenal players celebrating after winning the English Premier League match away to Chelsea in London on Sunday. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LONDON – Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said his team’s 1-0 away win over Chelsea in the London derby on Sunday will serve to convince the players of their ability to challenge reigning champions Manchester City for the English Premier League title.

A 63rd-minute toe-poke on the goal line by Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhaes earned Arsenal the victory at Stamford Bridge and lifted them back to the top of the English Premier League.

Gabriel, lurking at the far post, got on the end of a Bukayo Saka corner that flew past a line of Chelsea defenders.

Since joining the club in 2020, Gabriel has scored nine goals from corners in the Premier League, more than any other player, according to Opta.

The deserved victory in a highly charged match sent Arsenal two points clear of City (32) and left a second-best Blues side languishing in seventh, 13 points adrift.

Arteta told BT Sport: “The challenge for us was to come here against a top team in the league and the way we did it – we deserved to win the game.

“For such a young team, the maturity, the composure they showed, the resilience and courage to play how we wanted to play, was phenomenal to do it against these kinds of players.

“Winning in this stadium is an extra thing, another step for this team to keep believing they can do it under pressure and against big opponents.”

The Gunners’ record against “big opponents” has definitely improved. They have won three straight league games against fellow “Big Six” rivals for the first time since 2012, according to Opta.

In addition, they are now the first team to win 10 away games against the Blues in the Premier League and just the second to win three games on the trot at Stamford Bridge since Blackburn Rovers between 1993-94 and 1995-96.

Arteta added on the BBC: “It’s a big step against this opposition.

“What Manchester City are doing is what they’ve been doing for six years, they’re the best team in the world, with the best coach in the world. We have taken another step against a really difficult opposition and to convince ourselves we can do it.”

Arteta’s side pressed hard and moved the ball at pace so that Chelsea were often squeezed into their own half.

But despite their superiority, Arsenal were profligate in front of goal, with Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli and Ben White missing chances against Graham Potter’s side.

But they enjoyed 56 per cent possession and had 14 shots to Chelsea’s five.

The Blues’ best efforts came on the counter-attack but they could produce only half-chances for Kai Havertz, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Raheem Sterling.

Chelsea have earned just two points from their last four league matches and have lost two in succession after last week’s 4-1 drubbing by Graham Potter’s former side Brighton & Hove Albion.

Potter told BT Sport: “We played against a team in a really good moment, a confident team and you can see the points they have, so credit to them.

“The boys gave everything, it was huffing and puffing but missed that last bit. The goal was disappointing, but overall they deserved it. Arsenal are in a good moment and have been working together for a long time with a good understanding of what they want to do.

“We lacked a bit of quality. The effort was there, we were just beaten by the better team. It was not a great goal from our perspective.

“It’s an indication of where we are and what we need to do better. Mikel Arteta has done a good job, they are in a good place and we’re slightly different.”


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