I am proud of Arsenal’s spirit and character, says Mikel Arteta

Written by on January 22, 2020

Arsenal Manager, Mikel Arteta praised Arsenal’s fighting spirit after they claim a dramatic 2-2 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge despite having David Luiz sent off in the first half.

David Luiz was shown a straight red card when he brought down Tammy Abraham following a faulty backpass from Shkodran Mustafi.

Jorginho put the home side in front in the 28th minute of the game by converting the resulting penalty.

Arsenal young tallented forward, Gabriel Martinelli struck a breakaway equaliser in the 63rd minute of the game, before Cesar Azpilicueta’s close-range finish was cancelled out by Hector Bellerin’s left-footed strike three minutes to the end of the game.

“I am proud,” Arteta said in his post-match press conference. “The spirit they showed, the character, the fight and the leadership was there.

“You have to really stand up. When someone makes a mistake and someone has to take a red card, it can happen in football.

“I could sense at half-time that they believed they could get back in the game. I wasn’t expecting Hector to score with his left foot, obviously, but I’m very pleased.

Arteta was also full of praise for the 18-year-old Martinelli, who scored for the second consecutive game having he stepped in for the suspended Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, saying he thought about substituting him – only to change his mind.

“To play in this stadium, in the way he has done, with 10 men, and play against Azpilicueta, who in my opinion is one of the best defenders in the Premier League, you need 100% courage to do that.

“I wanted to substitute him because he looked extremely tired, but next minute he is sprinting 60 yards again.

“It’s not just him. I think Lacazette is playing at a good level, even though he is not scoring, Nicolas Pepe as well, and everybody that is coming in.

Arteta also explained why he declined to make a defensive substitution after Luiz’s sending off, instead keeping Granit Xhaka at centre-back alongside Mustafi.

“I was thinking about that, but I didn’t want to send that message to the team,” he said.

“We decided to keep us as we were and give the players a chance. I wanted to see how they could respond to that.”

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