EPL

Arteta was 'praying' Arsenal held on for derby victory

By Sports Desk April 28, 2024

Mikel Arteta was "praying" Arsenal clung on as the Gunners held off a late Tottenham fightback to claim a 3-2 north London derby victory on Sunday.

Arsenal looked to be cruising at 3-0 up after a Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg own-goal put the Gunners ahead at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, before Bukayo Saka and Kai Havertz extended the visitors' lead.

However, a David Raya mistake allowed Cristian Romero to cut the deficit before a Son Heung-min penalty threw Arsenal's lead into further peril after Declan Rice brought down Ben Davies.

The Gunners held on, though, despite some late pressure, a period in which Arteta conceded he was fearing the worst.

"I was praying," Arteta told reporters. "It was a really emotional game.

"3-0 up you're in control, and then an individual error happens that clicks something. We started to deal with the situation better, but they have the players to put a lot of courage forward."

Along with the derby day spoils, the win extends Arsenal's lead at the Premier League summit to four points, temporarily at least with closest rivals Manchester City taking on Nottingham Forest later on Sunday in the first of their two games in hand over the Gunners.

The destination of the title remains in the hands of Pep Guardiola's City, who overtook Arsenal last term to claim a fifth Premier League title in six seasons last term after the Gunners led for much of the way.

Arteta believes Arsenal are better-equipped this time to go on and win the title, however.

When asked if Arsenal have the ability to go all the way, Arteta replied: "100%.

"I’ve seen that the whole season. They give me reason to believe that every single day. The motivation for what is ahead is beautiful."

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