Mikel Arteta hailed Arsenal’s “will to win” as they hit Manchester United with an exhilarating late show that will live long in his memory.
Declan Rice and Gabriel Jesus scored stoppage-time goals to take Arsenal to a famous 3-1 win over United.
In a game packed with drama, United thought they’d won it themselves in the final minutes when Alejandro Garnacho broke free to score but a close VAR offside call denied him his moment. Arsenal then sent the home fans into bedlam with goals in the 96th and 101st minutes.
“We all worked so hard and planned everything for moments like this,” Arteta said.
“These moments will stick with us, with the crowd so connected to the team with the big history of these matches, it’s great.
“The will, the determination of the team, that will to win and go and go and go, I’m so proud of them.
“A team needs different tools to win football matches, and the capacity to react. We did that in the first half and that set the tone and brought some calmness to the team.”
Rice was scoring his first goal for the club since his club record £105m move from West Ham and his manager hailed his contribution.
He said: “A tremendous performance from Rice. As a holding midfielder, how he needs to dominate his area, to break up play. He was really dominant. And then he produced a magic moment to win us the game. You need to have that quality, that composure and he had it.
“He’s a great kid. A good mixture between being extremely demanding with everybody, himself and banter and being around the boys in a humble way.
“When you see the technical ability he has and how he delivers in these moments… when he shoots from range, with both feet, and he has the timing with his runs. The position will determine how many goals he scores but he’s got the ability to do that.”
Arteta’s wooing his wife analogy to help Havertz
Arsenal thought they’d been handed a chance to go in front on the hour mark when Kai Havertz went down in the box and a penalty was awarded. But the decision was overturned to cap another frustrating day in an Arsenal shirt for Havertz, who also fluffed a big chance in the first half.
Arteta remains assured of Havertz coming good at the club comparing the situation to the struggles he faced wooing his wife in the early stages of their relationship.
“I said to him yesterday: things are hard at the beginning. When I met my wife, at the beginning it was hard to conquer her. It was hard, I had to try and message her, and go, and go. And at the end when she says ‘yes we can be together’ it’s beautiful.”