Arteta says Arsenal take big step after Manchester City draw
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Arteta says ‘phenomenal’ Arsenal have taken big step towards title

Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal ‘made another big step’ after battling to a goalless draw at Manchester City.

The two title rivals played out a cagey contest at the Etihad with clear-cut chances at a premium for both teams, with the stalemate allowing Liverpool to open up a two-point lead at the top of the Premier League table.

Arsenal were forced to defend for long periods as Manchester City dominated possession but dug in to stop the treble-winners from scoring in a home league fixture for the first time in 57 games.

 

City had last failed to score in a Premier League game at home in October 2021, while Arsenal became only the fourth side to shut out a Pep Guardiola side in two league matches in the same season, after Borussia Monchengladbach in 2014/15, Manchester United in 2020/21, and Crystal Palace in 2021/22.

Nathan Ake had the best chance of the game for the Citizens, as he miscued a close-range header straight at David Raya. It was one of just three shots on target for both teams combined in a game lacking quality in the final third.

The draw also ended Arsenal’s poor recent record at the Etihad, having lost on their last seven visits. That run included a crushing 4-1 defeat during last season’s title race run-in and Arteta believes his team took another important step in their bid to win a first Premier League crown in two decades.

“A really competitive match as you can imagine. We made another big step today,” Arteta said, speaking to BBC MOTD.

“They have the capacity to change formations to get you in deep in many moments. They are very physical but I think we coped with that very well.

“I think we had the best situations. We were really aggressive at times and getting the ball into great areas. The way we competed individually and as a team was phenomenal.

 

“Individually you have to be at your best. I think it is 2021 since they hadn’t scored a goal here at the Etihad.

“It was a really tough test for us today. We wanted to win but when you cannot win you must not lose.”

Asked what he was most impressed about with Arsenal’s performance, Arteta told Sky Sports praised the commitment from his players and said the Gunners had to be streetwise on occasion.

“The commitment from the players, the discipline that they had in the defensive parts when we were really high up the pitch, we won the ball quite a few times. Then when they break the press, we tracked back and stayed deep.

“When they tried to move the structure we did really well to defend the box. We did really well. 2021 was the last time they did not score at home, three years, so that says how difficult it is.

 

“Absolutely (on if Arsenal had been streetwise on occasion). And you have to have those performances with and without the ball, especially without, to get something out of a game here. Without the ball we lacked certain composure, especially in the moments we did have.”

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