Mikel Arteta was a happy man after watching his side earn a battling three points away to Wolves, despite playing the last 20 minutes with ten men.
It was the fourth time in the past six games that we had picked up a red card, but the Gunners would not be denied at Molineux, holding on to pick up our first win of 2022.
Afterwards Mikel Arteta spoke to Arsenal Media, here’s what he said:
On the team’s performance…
Yeah, they are three big points, especially coming here with the way that they’ve been playing. The moment that we had after three weeks, I think they were pretty close to us as well, and to come here and in the way that we’ve done it, I think it shows and I think it’s a good summary of who we are today. We have some really good players but we were sometimes inconsistent. We scored a good goal and we had total control in one action that all started from a free-kick where we are in control and we are a bit naive and we end up with 10 men for 20 minutes. But after that, the character and the resilience and the courage and togetherness that the team showed, it’s all about us now.
On his pride at the way the team responded to going down to 10…
I’m extremely proud of them, but we have to stop doing that. We’ve played four of the last six games with 10 men and to win football matches in this league is very, very difficult and with 10 men it’s almost impossible. If we want to have any chance of getting to the objectives that we want, we have to continue to play the 16 games with 11 players.
On what pleased him most about our performance…
Well, we had periods where we gave some sloppy balls away that lost us some control, but our structure was good and our intention was the right one and the quality that we showed, but we had to finish the actions better and we didn’t. At 1-0 the game is always open and then we know what happened in the last 20 minutes.
On the fight for the top four…
You don’t know how many points we’re going to need to get to the objectives, but as well, we need to look at ourselves and focus on what we’re doing and go game by game because we can’t look too far ahead.
‘Thanks to him we won the game’
Rob Holding was summoned from the bench for the final 20 minutes of our game at Wolves following Gabriel Martinelli’s dismissal, and the defender more than played his part in a match-winning clean sheet.
We came under sustained pressure from the hosts in the closing stages, but Holding repelled everything Wolves threw at us, making an incredible nine clearances, winning all three duels, making one interception and also blocking a goalbound effort.
“Today he deserves a lot of credit,” Mikel Arteta said after the game. “He was on the bench, he was ready to help. His attitude, his commitment to the team whether he plays every week or plays one minute, it’s incredibly good.
“He’s a really good influence for the rest. Today he really helped the team, the way he defended the box made a huge difference. Thanks to him we won the game.”