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HomePremier LeagueArteta's prayers answered as Arsenal edge North London derby

Arteta’s prayers answered as Arsenal edge North London derby

Mikel Arteta admitted he was praying Arsenal could hold on as his team survived a second-half scare to beat Tottenham in the North London derby.

Arsenal were cruising towards an emphatic derby win after taking a 3-0 lead into half-time at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, as the Gunners capitalised on some slack defending to score through Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s own goal, Bukayo Saka and Kai Havertz.

 

Spurs were second best in the first half but had their moments. Micky van de Ven was deemed marginally offside after scoring a disallowed equaliser at 1-0, while Cristian Romero hit the woodwork as he twice came close with headers.

Romero brought Spurs back into the game after the break when he punished David Raya’s error, before a late Son Heung-min penalty set up a nervous finish.

Arsenal held on to extend their advantage at the top of the Premier League, ahead of Manchester City’s clash with Nottingham Forest, and Arteta said he was seeking help from a higher power in the closing stages.

“I was praying. It was a really emotional game. A great team to play against. 3-0 up you’re in control and then an individual error happen that clicks something. We started to deal with the situation better, but they have the players to put a lot of courage forward.”

Arsenal faltered during last season’s Premier League title-run but have looked more convincing during the current campaign. The North Londoners thrashed Chelsea 5-0 earlier in the week, before seeing out a tough test at Tottenham on Sunday. Arteta believes his team are better equipped to go all the way this time around.

 

“I think so. When you win it’s always the case. Last season we didn’t against West Ham we didn’t score a penalty and we conceded in the 91st minute and we didn’t have it because we didn’t win. The margins are so small. Don’t get carried away with yourself.”

On whether Arsenal have the spirit to win the Premier League this season, he added: “Yeah 100%. I’ve seen that the whole season. They give me the reason to believe that every single day. The motivation for what is ahead is beautiful.”

Read – Saka hails ‘massive’ win for Arsenal after ‘frantic’ North London Derby

See more – Ranked! The best North London derbies of the Premier League era

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