Mikel Arteta praised Arsenal’s concentration as they extended their lead at the top of the Premier League table with a win over Leeds United at the Emirates Stadium
Although Manchester City’s 4-1 victory over Liverpool had temporarily reduced the Gunners’ lead to five points earlier on Saturday, Arteta’s team responded with an equally convincing win to regain their eight-point lead.
Gabriel Jesus scored two goals for the home team, and Ben White and Granit Xhaka also found the back of the net. Bukayo Saka was not in the starting lineup for the first time this season in the Premier League, due to illness on Friday. Despite this, Arteta was pleased with his team’s ability to maintain their focus during the match.
“We had a few things going on with some individuals. It has been a concerning few days because we could not decide until this morning if some players would be available and the line-up,” he told BBC.
“After an international break, you do not know if they are in the frame of mind to come back and do the things necessary to win this league. I am really happy with the performance.
“We were aware [of Man City’s result] as it is a huge game, and we wanted to watch parts of it. But when we got here, it was just to focus on us and what we can do as a team. They are used to it. We can only control what we can do.”
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Arteta also commended Gabriel Jesus, who scored two goals on his first start after recovering from injury.
“I am so happy for him after all the work from him and the staff throughout the last five months,” Arteta said. “Today, he got rewarded for that. He brings that quality and unpredictability to the squad.”
“Everyone is playing so well, it is easy to come back,” Jesus added. “The most important thing is that everyone that has come in has played good.
“I want to score every game, but sometimes it can’t happen. I am more happy with the three points than the goals.
“We said before the game not to look at goal difference and focus on the points. But sometimes, you have to try and score more and more. as it might matter at the end of the season.”
White commended Arsenal for their focus and not getting sidetracked by the Manchester City result earlier in the day.
“There’s a lot of noise going on outside,” the defender told BBC Radio 5 Live. “I don’t really know what’s right or wrong. I have never been in this position [competing in a title race] before. So, we are just keeping quiet, heads down and working hard.”