Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has hit out at the Premier League's fixturing ahead of a busy period of catch-up games for the Gunners.

The Gunners suffered a dent in their top-four hopes on Wednesday after going down 2-0 at home to second-placed Liverpool.

The Spanish boss was sarcastic in his response when asked about Arsenal's upcoming logjam of fixtures that includes a fast turnaround to play Aston Villa in the league at lunchtime on Saturday, before facing Chelsea and Manchester United in quick succession next month (April 20 and 23).

“Thank you so much to the Premier League for doing that," Arteta told reporters.

"And they’ve done it again when we have to play Chelsea and Manchester United. So if they want to give them any advantage, I say to them today: ‘Thank you so much for doing that’.”

He added: “No [the Premier League wouldn't change the schedule]. It is always it’s BT, it’s Sky, it is this, it’s that. But the one that is affected is Arsenal and the only thing that I care [about] and we care [about] is Arsenal. And for Arsenal it is not fair.”

Arsenal are currently fourth on the table with 51 points from 27 games, while United are fifth on 50 points but having played two more games.

Arteta insisted his players would be ready for Saturday's test against the Villans despite the turnaround as they seek to put ground on United in the race for the top four.

"Yes, 100 percent, don’t worry the players will be there on Saturday with the energy," he said.

"They will sleep, eat well, but thank you so much to the Premier League for putting the fixtures like this, it’s very, very helpful."

On the Liverpool loss, Arteta said the difference was being clinical in attack, with both sides having nine shots each and the Reds edging possession 52-48 percent.

Martin Odegaard fluffed a golden opportunity after a Liverpool turnover in defence, while the Reds capitalised on their chances with goals from Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino.

"It was the difference today. I don’t think there was any other difference apart from that," Arteta said.

"I think we have closed that gap a lot, but it wasn’t enough because when we went through that door and they went through that door, they scored two goals.

"I’m not happy with the goals that we conceded, but it’s part of the game and when you have those chances you have to take them to get something out of it."

Mikel Arteta dismissed the suggestion he is interested in taking the Paris Saint-Germain job, insisting he is committed to Arsenal.

Arteta has been among those managers linked with potentially taking over at the Parc des Princes should Mauricio Pochettino leave at the end of the season.

Pochettino's time in the French capital has been somewhat underwhelming so far, with PSG crashing out of the Champions League last week after capitulating against Real Madrid.

Meanwhile, Arteta, who spent a season on loan at PSG from Barcelona in 2001-02, seems to have finally bedded in his methods at Arsenal, with the Gunners in pole position to secure a top-four spot and Champions League qualification.

Asked about the rumours ahead of Wednesday's clash with title challengers Liverpool, Arteta said: "Very simple, that I am extremely happy here and I'm grateful that it's where I am."

Arteta's team face a stern test of their quality against Jurgen Klopp's team, who have won their last eight Premier League matches.

Arsenal, however, have won their last five, joining Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea as the only other top-flight teams to manage such a run of victories in the competition so far this season.

Since losing their opening home game of the Premier League season, Arsenal have only lost one of their following 13 league games at Emirates Stadium this term (W10 D2), but Arteta knows the standards must remain high.

"This is never going to stop, this is a constant revolution," he added.

"In the history of the Premier League, there never existed this level of playing and competition so we don't know where that limit is so every plan that we do is with players and people with the mentality that this is going to keep the will going, that this is never going to be good enough and to do that you need to get people that are aligned with this ambition."

While Arsenal head into their contest with Liverpool in good form, recent history is not on their side. They were hammered 4-0 at Anfield in November and lost to the Reds over two legs in their EFL Cup semi-final.

Arsenal's record against the other "big six" sides this season is also disappointing, with only three points taken from six such fixtures so far – that win coming against north London rivals Tottenham. Indeed, the Gunners have conceded 17 goals in those matches, scoring just six times in return.

Jurgen Klopp has praised Mikel Arteta's work since taking over at Arsenal, with the Liverpool boss stating that he sees similarities between the Spaniard's tenure and his own start on Merseyside.

The Gunners have overcome a slow start to the 2021-22 campaign to emerge as top-four favourites, having embarked upon a five-game win streak matched by only their rivals near the summit.

Arteta has drawn praise for his dynamic style of football, and speaking ahead of the pair's Premier League clash on Wednesday, Klopp indicated he sees a kindred spirit in his fellow manager.

"I can’t even remember their start [to the season], I just see them playing now," the German stated. "They have a clear structure, clear idea, properly tuned, possession-based, young, full of talent and joy.

"If you go through the line-up there's an experienced striker and then three very exciting young boys and then a bit more experience in the double six and then a pretty inexperienced backline and a young goalkeeper, and that's not with [Emile] Smith Rowe even in, and then on top of the other guys, it’s interesting.

"Other teams will not like it because it's another big name back on track but that's how it looks

"There are similarities [to us], you can say it like this, they're a massive club and qualification for European football in the last few years is not exactly how they wanted it.

"If they get Champions League this year, it will feel as good [as it did] for us the first time. A step in the right direction, an exciting team.

"Arsenal fans, maybe since I was in England it was not always easy for them to enjoy. But they seem to be now and that's exactly how it should be."

Klopp will face a fortress when he travels to north London this week, with Arsenal having lost just once at home in the Premier League since an opening weekend loss to Chelsea.

But he does not yet know whether he'll be able to call upon Mohamed Salah following the latter's injury against Brighton and Hove Albion, though the forward's issue is less serious than feared.

"Mo is a tough cookie," he added. "We were quite lucky with it. It was sore and painful, yesterday a bit less swollen and less painful.

"Now I have got a message that Mo is ready to train and we will see how that looks."

Arsenal must be at their "very best" if they hope to defeat Liverpool in the Premier League, says Mikel Arteta, with the Spaniard hailing the Reds as "the best team in England".

The Gunners welcome Jurgen Klopp's title-chasers to Emirates Stadium for a crucial crash that could shape both of their respective seasons.

Liverpool will fulfil their game in hand on champions Manchester City and could move a point behind them with victory, while a win for Arsenal would further consolidate their top-four spot.

Arsenal have not played in the Champions League since the 2016-17 season and are desperate to return, and Wednesday's fixture might prove something of a litmus test as to just where the Gunners are at. Indeed, Arsenal went into the reverse fixture at Anfield in November on the back of a fine run of form yet were hammered 4-0.

"We are facing arguably the best team in England and have to be at our best to beat them," Arteta told a news conference.

"You face a team that dominates every single aspect of the game, so when that happens, you have to be at your very best."

On their prospects of securing a top-four finish, Arteta cautioned Arsenal about getting ahead of themselves, adding: "There still is a long way to go.

"There are better teams in the country because that's what the league table shows. We haven't done anything yet.

"What we are doing is trying to improve. We understand better what we want – being much more consistent in performance and results, and nothing else."

With the international break set to follow this weekend's fixtures, several Arsenal players are expected to be called up for their national teams, including England goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

The shot-stopper was the hero against Leicester City at the weekend with another strong performance and was hailed by opposite manager Brendan Rodgers as the best goalkeeper in the country at the moment.

Arteta doubled down on that praise, adding: "Thanks to Brendan for thinking that way. Aaron has to take those words to give him confidence.

"He's been exceptional since the day we signed him, not only on the pitch, but what he transmitted, what he brought to the building, to the club."

Mikel Arteta acknowledged that Arsenal playing in Europe next season "changes a lot" to attract transfer targets and he is demanding more from his in-form side.

Arsenal have taken 25 points from their last 30 available to them in the Premier League (W8 D1 L1) – no side has earned more points over their past 10 top-flight games – to leave them fourth in the league.

The Gunners, who are a point ahead of fifth-placed Manchester United and have played three games fewer, host Leicester City on Sunday as they search for a fifth straight league victory.

But Arteta warned his players that they must further extend their winning run to compete with the top teams, while he commented on how potential signings will be impacted by Arsenal's position come the end of the season.

"To be with the top teams you have to win consistently and do it in a convincing way," he told reporters at Friday's pre-match news conference. 

"I need even more than that amount of victories [four in a row] because there are teams in this league who do that for 10, 11, 12 or 18 times, so still the margin is pretty big."

On any potential transfer dealings, he added: "There are two things: the amount of games that you have to play and the amount of players you need in the squad.

"The players you are losing or retaining in that squad, and then the [players] that are available, which playing in the European competitions changes a lot."

Arsenal appear favourites to secure the last spot in England's top four, but Arteta insists he is taking each game as it comes heading into a crucial period of the campaign.

"I don't know, the only matter for me is how we train tomorrow and how we play on Sunday," he responded when asked if his side were top-four favourites. 

"The rest, this is football and it's so unpredictable: nobody knows what can happen. Our only focus is on performing and winning matches."

Stand-in captain Alexandre Lacazette, whose contract expires at the end of the season, has provided more assists than any other Arsenal player in the Premier League this campaign (seven).

His two assists in the 3-2 win at Watford last time out took him to 100 goal involvements in all competitions in his Arsenal career (70 goals, 30 assists in 196 games), and Arteta has been pleased with the Frenchman, whose contract will be discussed in the close season.

"We have discussions as you know and at the end of the season, once we know where we are, we will make a decision altogether," Arteta said of Lacazette's situation. 

"I don't want anyone to think about something else that is not that. The decision, we agreed, is to do it in the summer and we're going to do it as soon as the season is finished.

On his lack of goals, Arteta responded: "I think he’s been very close and that’s why we have to keep pushing him and giving him support that he plays with that confidence and hopefully on Sunday he can do it."

The Arsenal boss has also been impressed with Lacazette's fellow attacker, Gabriel Martinelli, who has stepped up after the departure of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Barcelona in January.

"Gabi is playing in a different position because Auba certainly in the last few months played as a nine, but Gabi has shown big signs of where he’s moving," he continued. 

"Certainly the capacity that he has to score goals and be a threat in the final third and I think his contribution all around in his game has been exceptional. He totally deserves the amount of minutes that he’s been playing."

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta hailed Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard's quality after both scored in a thrilling 3-2 win at Watford.

Saka and Odegaard netted terrific first-half goals before Gabriel Martinelli added a third after the break, although replies from Watford's Cucho Hernandez and Moussa Sissoko ensured a nervy ending for the Gunners.

Arsenal, who are chasing a first top-four finish since 2016, have won four consecutive Premier League games, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Saka and Odegaard, who combined for the Norwegian's opener.

Saka has now posted 13 goal contributions in the Premier League this season (eight goals and five assists). Among players aged 21 and younger in the five big European leagues, only Bayer Leverkusen's Florian Wirtz, with 17, has more than the England man.

Although Arteta was frustrated with Arsenal's defensive lapses at Vicarage Road, he was keen to highlight how the duo's understanding has impacted the Gunners' attacking displays.

"We were really good going forward, and we had all the right intention and the energy to do it," Arteta said. "We scored three magnificent goals, but we didn't have the same energy and commitment defensively. When that happens, you're going to suffer."

Arteta is impressed by how Arsenal are moving the ball and finding reliable links between key personnel.

He said: "The speed of the movement, the timing of it is much better, the position that we get [into], the threat and the sense of having the capacity to create the chances that we have done is much better, and we have to keep developing that."

Arteta also highlighted Saka's penalty shootout miss in the Euro 2020 final last July as a key moment in the winger's development, as the England star continued his fine campaign with a superb strike against the Hornets.

"Bukayo had an experience in the summer that not a lot of players would ever have, and I think it was great for his career, because the football world showed how much they like him and how much they respect him," Arteta said.

"I think that was a big boost for him to realise in difficult moments that people are going to give him support. Then it's about leaving him that space [to develop]. What he is already doing is phenomenal and he needs that room, you know? Don't read too much, do what you do."

Saka, along with team-mates Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe, is one of three Gunners players aged 21 or younger to have hit five or more Premier League goals this campaign.

That is a single-season feat for a team which has only been accomplished by three others in the competition's history: Chelsea in 2019-20, Leeds United in 1998-99, and Manchester United in 1995-96.

Arsenal boosted their Premier League top-four hopes with a 3-2 win at Watford, as Bukayo Saka starred in a match containing five terrific goals.

Martin Odegaard opened the scoring when he capped a scintillating move on five minutes, before Watford's Cucho Hernandez went one better with a fantastic overhead kick after 11 minutes.

The lively Saka finished into the top corner after half an hour, before Gabriel Martinelli wrapped up the three points by finishing sweetly from outside the area after the break – although Moussa Sissoko's late response did keep the Gunners on their toes.

Prior to Manchester United's derby against Manchester City later on Sunday, Arsenal moved up to fourth in their pursuit of Champions League qualification for the first time since 2016.

Watford had the ball in the net after just 17 seconds in a frantic opening, but Emmanuel Dennis was narrowly offside and the visitors took an early lead instead, with Odegaard finishing neatly on his left foot after playing a superb give-and-go with Saka.

The Hornets needed just six minutes to respond, however, as Hernandez met Kiko Femenia's right-wing cross in acrobatic style to give Aaron Ramsdale little chance.

After Ramsdale almost spilled Dennis' shot to Joao Pedro, Arsenal reclaimed the lead when Saka bent a shot into the top corner from Alexandre Lacazette's backheel.

Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta has defended the decision to let Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang join Barcelona and not replace the striker in January.

The Gunners allowed Aubameyang to depart on a free transfer in the last window after stripping the 32-year-old of the captaincy following a disciplinary issue.

The Gabon international, who reportedly agreed a significant pay cut to move to Barca, did not play for Arsenal after December 6, but has started in an impressive run of form for the Catalan club.

Aubameyang netted a hat-trick in a 4-1 thrashing of Valencia, becoming just the fourth player to score in LaLiga, the Premier League, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 in the 21st century.

He followed that up with strikes against Napoli and Athletic Bilbao to make him LaLiga's first African player to score in three games in a row in all competitions, since Youssef En-Nesyri for Sevilla in March 2021.

But Arteta does not regret the decision to let the forward leave, despite the Gunners appearing short-handed with just Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah to call upon up top.

"We always make decisions in the best interests of the club and to get the best performances from the team," Arteta told Sky Sports when asked about Aubameyang's exit.

"We made that decision as three parties. One was the club, one was Auba, and the other was Barcelona. The three of us believed it was the right thing to do.

"That was a possibility, but I think when you have a clear direction and process of how you make your decisions, you have to be ruthless."

Looking at how the decision angered some Arsenal supporters, Arteta added: "You have to have a certain courage and consistency in those decisions.

"If one decision is to only bring in players we can afford, who are going to make the team much better straight away, and who are sustainable for our future, then that should be the case.

"So, even if you are tempted to do something, but you think it's going to bring you trouble in the coming months or years, you should not do it. I think we were brave not to do it."

Indeed, Arsenal have improved markedly since Aubameyang's departure, winning seven of nine top-flight games since the last time the former Borussia Dortmund star played.

Lacazette has filled the void that Aubameyang left, with his role in Jose Sa's late own goal securing a 2-1 win over Wolves in their last outing, and Arteta has been pleased with the 30-year-old, who has taken on the captaincy for now.

"Laca has a really important quality, which is that he makes the people around him better," Arteta said. "He understands the game really well, he's a really intelligent player and his work-rate is phenomenal.

"I think he's been very unlucky not to score another four, five, six goals in this period. We want to give him the confidence and he will do that but, for me, he scored last week against Wolves. He was there to make the final action to win the match."

Arsenal will look to continue their pursuit of the Champions League qualification spots when they travel to strugglers Watford on Sunday.

Arsenal must not take anything for granted in their bid to qualify for the Champions League, according to Mikel Arteta.

The Gunners face Watford this weekend and sit sixth in the table, but with three games in hand over both Manchester United and West Ham.

Coupled with a more favourable run-in, on paper at least, Arsenal are arguably the favourites to seal a top-four berth come the end of the season.

However, Arteta has stressed his team will take it step-by-step.

"I think it's positive because that's where we want to be playing," Arteta told his pre-match press conference on Friday. "The reality is we are not fourth but sixth still.

"We have to win those games. We know what we have to do. There's a long way to go and the only aim is to win against Watford."

Since losing consecutive games against United and Everton at the start of December, Arsenal have dropped only five points over their last nine games in the Premier League.

It has been a feat bolstered by the impressive performances of Ben White, with the defender shrugging off his reported £50million price tag to emerge as the backbone of the Gunners defence.

Arteta had nothing but praise for the England international, saying: "I think what he's done, how quickly he's adapted, how he's handled the pressure of the price we paid and what we demand him to do at his age is very impressive."

White will hope to help steer Arsenal to yet another victory over Watford, with the Hornets having taken just seven points across 15 Premier League meetings with them over the years.

Arteta's opposite number Roy Hodgson meanwhile was won only one of his last dozen matches against the Gunners, way back in 2008 when he was in charge of Fulham.

Mikel Arteta had no issue with Arsenal leaving it late to beat Wolves on Thursday, suggesting that such a dramatic victory was good for the atmosphere around his team.

Arsenal celebrated a vital 2-1 win in their bid to qualify for the Champions League at Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners climbed to fifth in the Premier League, a point behind fourth-placed Manchester United with two games in hand, although they had to do it the hard way.

Trailing to Hwang Hee-chan's early opener, Arteta's men finally equalised eight minutes from time through substitute Nicolas Pepe, who also then had a hand in the winning goal as he teed up Alexandre Lacazette for a shot Jose Sa deflected into his own net.

That decisive own goal clocked in at 94 minutes and 56 seconds, making it Arsenal's latest Premier League winner since Alexis Sanchez's January 2017 penalty against Burnley (97:14).

Asked if he would rather have seen Arsenal comfortable in a routine victory, Arteta told Prime Video: "Probably [I would prefer] the way we won it, because it creates such a belief, a togetherness, an atmosphere and cohesion with our fans as well.

"That's extremely necessary. We really want to create something special here, and without our fans we're not going to be able to do it."

Arsenal have now won seven of their past nine league games, losing only once in that run to Manchester City.

It is a far cry from a dismal start to the season, as Arteta acknowledged as he said: "After three defeats in the first three games, we had to avoid relegation.

"That was the first thing that we had to do, and then just go game by game."

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta described the horrific head injury suffered by Wolves striker Raul Jimenez at Emirates Stadium in November 2020 as among the scariest moments of his career, ahead of the Mexican's first return to the ground since his recovery.

Jimenez suffered a fractured skull in a sickening collision with David Luiz just minutes into Wolves' trip to Arsenal last season, which the visitors went on to win 2-1, returning to action with a protective headband eight months later.

Jimenez has hit five league goals for Bruno Lage's outfit since his comeback, and the Midlands club would go above Arsenal in the Premier League table with a repeat of last season's win, as the two clubs battle for European qualification.

On the eve of the Gunners' crucial meeting with Lage's team, Arteta looked back on a worrying moment for all concerned. 

"I have had others, but that was one of them," the 39-year-old responded when asked if it ranked among the scariest moments of his career.

"Straight away you saw the reaction, the anxiety that was suddenly in the team doctors and everybody involved trying to assess what was happening, it was frightening. 

"Thank god it ended the right way, but it looked really, really bad."

Arteta also revealed that his club remained in constant contact with Jimenez during his long recovery, as did the since departed David Luiz, who struggled in the aftermath of the incident.

"Of course, we were [in contact with Jimenez] and David was as well, because he was directly involved, he was really affected by that.

"We are colleagues in the end. We share the same profession and industry. When something like that happens, you are emotionally involved.

"In the case of Raul, it was a really scary moment. Thanks to the medical team, they probably saved [him from] something that could have been much worse."

Arsenal are looking to extend a four-game winning run in the Premier League when they host Lage's in-form team, and have lost only one of their last 10 home league games against the Molineux outfit (W5 D4), although that defeat did come on Wolves' last trip to the Emirates.

Jimenez, meanwhile, will be looking to carry over the form he has displayed from recent trips to another part of north London, netting in his last three visits to Arsenal's neighbours Tottenham, after Wolves' 2-0 win there earlier this month.

Mikel Arteta is relaxed about his future as Arsenal coach following reports a new contract is on the cards.

Arteta took over from Unai Emery in 2019 and won the FA Cup in his first campaign, also guiding the club to an eighth-placed finish in the Premier League.

He has come under pressure both last term – when Arsenal finished eighth again to miss out on European football – and in the current season, with the Gunners getting off to a shaky start.

But Arteta is generally considered to have made progress at the club, as they head into Friday's clash with Wolves just four points behind fourth-placed Manchester United, who have played three games more.

Arsenal, then, are arguably the favourites to take the final Champions League qualification spot ahead of United, West Ham, Tottenham and Wolves.

Arteta's role in that does not appear to have gone unnoticed, with reports recently indicating he is in line for a new three-year contract – while not exactly forthcoming on the rumours, he was undoubtedly relaxed.

Asked what the club had said to him about a potential new deal, Arteta said: "Nothing, it's just that I am really happy here and my aim is to build with the club a winning team that people enjoy watching, identify with and that can transmit what we want football-wise and as an organisation.

"As you think, things will happen naturally, like things that have happened in the last few months and now our focus has to be delivering what we want."

A key focus ahead of Friday's match was the race for Champions League football, which was made all the more pertinent by the fact visitors Wolves are very much in the hunt.

While Bruno Lage's men are two points behind Arsenal, they have a couple of games in hand on West Ham and Man Utd as well – victories in those would have them level on 46 points with Ralf Rangnick's side.

Arteta is not getting carried away with Arsenal's standing, but he could not hide his desperation to return to Europe's elite competition.

"I do, a lot," Arteta replied when asked if he misses the Champions League. "As a player I have experiences and it's one of best feelings you can have, to be surrounded by opponents that are the best in the world and challenge yourself and evaluate yourself against that kind of opposition.

"As a club, you play in a competition that brings a different dimension to the club, different impact. It's a competition that's very attached to this club.

"I'm happy with the direction we are taking, not happy with where we are. We want to be competing, challenging the best in the league in consecutive seasons."

Martin Odegaard has made such an impression at Arsenal that Mikel Arteta already sees him as captaincy material.

Arteta said Odegaard "has all the qualities" for the job as he considers who should take the armband that previously belonged to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

After falling out of favour, then moving to Barcelona, Aubameyang belongs to Arsenal's past, and manager Arteta has yet to appoint a new full-time skipper.

Kieran Tierney is another that Arteta could turn to, with former Gunners defender Martin Keown having highlighted the left-back as a suitable candidate.

At the age of 23, Odegaard is already captain of Norway, and Arteta believes such a role at club level would also suit the former Real Madrid player.

"He certainly has all the qualities to do that, absolutely," said Arteta. "Talking to his national team coach and how highly they speak of him.

"He walks through the corridor and everybody loves him. He is such a nice, humble guy and he leads with the way he is. It is very natural for him and that will come."

Odegaard moved from Madrid to Arsenal in January 2021, initially on loan, with the move made permanent in August.

"Martin was really happy to join us because he had a really good time, he felt valued, he enjoyed what we are doing," said Arteta. "He got a really good connection with the players and the supporters.

"He wanted to be part of the project. Since then, he is getting better and better, and I am not surprised. The way he lives his profession, the way he likes to play football and everything he does is to become better."

Saturday's 2-1 win over Brentford means Arsenal sit sixth in the Premier League, four points behind fourth-placed Manchester United but with three games in hand.

Odegaard has had six goals and six assists in 45 games across all competitions for Arsenal to date. He has had just two yellow cards, pointing to discipline being a strength.

Among Arsenal's midfielders, since his debut on January 30 last year, Odegaard is the top performer when it comes to chances created after carving out 75 (Bukayo Saka is next on 66).

Of those, 60 of the chances were created in open play (Saka next with 55), and Odegaard's 22 throughballs is also a high mark among Arsenal midfielders, with no one else reaching double figures (Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey, both 9).

"He wants it probably more than anyone else on that pitch, every single day," said Arteta. "He will be top, top."

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta heaped praise on young England stars Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka after they fired the Gunners to a 2-1 win over Brentford.

Smith Rowe and Saka struck in the second half to down a resolute Bees team, with Smith Rowe taking his tally to nine Premier League goals this season, a tally bettered only by Raheem Sterling (10) among English players in the competition this term.

Saka, meanwhile, has now registered 11 Premier League goal involvements this campaign (seven goals and four assists), the most of any player under the age of 21 and a tally only bettered by Jarrod Bowen (16), Mason Mount (13), and Trent Alexander-Arnold (12) among English players.

Christian Norgaard grabbed a late consolation for Brentford.

Speaking in the aftermath, Arteta lauded his match-winning youngsters, and saluted a "convincing" Gunners performance.

"They are players that have been raised in our system, and I'm really pleased that we have these players to come and take responsibility," Arteta said.

"They managed to win the game for us, which is really impressive at that age. I think we played really well [before the first goal], and we created some great chances in the first half without scoring the goal.

"But in the second half we were really convincing, scored the goal, and then it was a matter of scoring the second to kill the game. It’s a shame that we conceded a goal, but overall, I think we should be happy with the result and the performance."

Mikel Arteta has backed Arsenal's mentality when under pressure, but acknowledged that his side have brought difficulties upon themselves at points under his watch.

Arsenal welcome Brentford to Emirates Stadium on Saturday as they look to close in on the top four.

They will do so without Gabriel Martinelli however, with the 20-year-old's red card against Wolves the latest instance of an Arsenal player's dismissal under Arteta.

Speaking ahead of the Brentford clash, Arteta conceded that the way he chooses to play runs these risks, but added that he feels his team can weather the adversity that might result from the indiscipline.

"We have to face whatever challenges that we have in front of us," he said in a news conference. "Someday we have provoked those challenges ourselves, sometimes it has been someone external.

"Whatever is in front of us, we have to have that mentality and that attitude to say, 'Okay, let's face it' and 'let's go for it' and we can overcome it. This is how [Martinelli] wanted to play."

Arteta further added that his side should relish a bunker mentality, drawing comparison to the teams of Jose Mourinho and Alex Ferguson, and how they thrived under the spotlight.

"One hundred per cent, because I want the team to feel that they have the tools and they have the right mindset to face anything that is in front of us," he added.

"That's the only way that you are able to win."

Yet another red card for his side at Molineux sparked further speculation from the media over Arteta's methods, but the former Manchester City assistant added that he tends to encourage his side to block out the noise.

"We focus on what we can control [and] what we have to do," he stated. "Our focus doesn't change because we can't control what is out there."

While Arsenal do not lead the way for bookings in the Premier League, their red card haul over the past two years is noticeable for its sheer volume next to their rivals.

They have picked up a dozen dismissals since Boxing Day 2019, when Arteta oversaw his first game. That is five more than the next two sides, in Brighton and Hove Albion and Southampton (both seven), while their average total of fouls per red card sits at 65.4, a full 30 offences more than the second-ranked Bournemouth, at 98.5.

Arsenal sit sixth heading into Saturday's game, four points behind fourth-placed Manchester United but with three matches in hand.

The Gunners are unbeaten in their last 32 Premier League home games against promoted sides (W27 D5), since a 1-0 loss against Newcastle United in November 2010. They have only failed to score in one of those 32 matches, a goalless draw with Middlesbrough in October 2016.

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