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Arteta hails mentality of his Arsenal team

1 Apr 2023
Premier League - Arsenal v Leeds United

Arsenal manager says players kept their focus on what they can control in beating Leeds

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Mikel Arteta has praised the mentality of his Arsenal team after they maintained their eight-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table with a 4-1 win over Leeds United.

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Man City had reduced the gap to five points after beating Liverpool 4-1 in the day’s opening match, so the pressure was on the leaders to restore the difference.

They responded in fine style, easing past Leeds thanks to a double from Gabriel Jesus, his first goals since 1 October last year.

Arteta confirmed a sickness bug had affected his squad, with Bukayo Saka not starting in the league for the first time this season, but said that his players showed great mentality to focus on their play and their results and not worry too much about the champions.

“What we can control is what we can do,” Arteta told the official Arsenal website. “We’ve been discussing that for the last few days.

“After the international break we had a lot of tricky situations to manage with a few players and it’s always a question mark with how the team is going to react after that.

“I think they were exceptional, they were really at it, everyone wanted to be involved and we won the game in a convincing way, which is good and the only thing that we can control.”

Arteta was pleased that Jesus was back among the goals after his long-term knee injury suffered at the World Cup.

“I’m delighted for him,” Arteta said. “They were all clapping for him and he’s been working so hard the last four or five months with a lot of support obviously from the team and the staff.

“Today he deserved the chance to start and he grabbed the opportunity with a lot of conviction and scoring two very important goals.”

One of Jesus’s goals was set up by Leandro Trossard, who provided his seventh assist for Arsenal since signing for them in January. Asked whether in his wildest dreams Arteta had envisaged such an impact from the Belgian.

“I have very wild dreams!” answered Arteta. “No, seriously, we knew about his quality and what he could bring to the team. We are really pleased with him, he can play on the right, he can play on the left, he can play as an attacking midfielder, as a nine, a false nine.

“He’s really contributing to the team and he really takes a lot of responsibility in games to make things happen and we love that.”

Title race

Position Pos Club Played Pl GD Points Pts
1 Manchester City MCI 38 +61 89
2 Arsenal ARS 38 +45 84
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