Arsenal shake off Derby pressure and issue title warning to Manchester City

LONDON – Arsenal have found a way. Sunday’s 3-2 win over north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur was a combination of hard work, quality and a bit of luck, but Mikel Arteta’s side earned the win that keeps them in the Premier League title race The win that City honestly needed.

The Gunners are determined to avoid a repeat of last season, when they ran out of steam in the final weeks of the campaign. A Cavaliers team willing to take on all comers at any time lacks the adaptability to handle the pressure of competition when a trophy is within sight.

Arteta revealed in the build-up to the game that he had sought advice from former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger on how to approach the “late stages” of the title race. It may not be enough – if City win their remaining games they will claim their fifth title in six seasons – but Arsenal have shown clear signs that they are rising to the occasion with the necessary skill, which It is an encouragement for the future.

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Arteta, who sacrificed his own principles to adopt a safety-first, defensive game plan to ensure a 0-0 draw at Manchester City last month, spoke of the need to sometimes “put your ego and ideology aside, Do what you have to do to win the “game” to succeed in the big tournaments. Arsenal were equally conservative here, although this time Arteta admitted it was a product of Tottenham’s front-foot approach rather than a pre-conceived one. “They forced us,” Arteta said. “We have a problem with the media.”

But Arsenal still succeeded. Different from the draw with Manchester City, this time the Gunners combined offensive power with defensive diligence, relying on Pierre-Emile Hojmarg’s 15th-minute own goal and Bukayo Saka’s wonderful counterattack and Kai Havertz’s goal to lead 3-0.

What followed was a reminder that Arsenal’s evolution as a team capable of winning in a variety of ways and with the authority that Manchester City routinely displays is a work in progress. Spurs hit the post through Christian Romero and Mickey van de Veen’s equalizer was ruled out for offside on a VAR review, but they needed Arsenal to spark their comeback. David Raya fired the ball past Romero for a simple goal in the 64th minute, sparking a disgruntled crowd and this time it was Declan Rice (Declan Rice) Son Heung-min scored the 87th after a mistake when kicking down Ben Davies in the penalty area sent a disgruntled crowd into raptures.

A frantic finish ensued, but Arsenal held on to the victory and ended one of their toughest remaining challenges. The fate of the title will ultimately determine the verdict, but it seems fair to at least ask Arteta the question of whether Arsenal have shown real improvement from a side that struggled last April.

“I think so,” Arteta said. “That’s always the case when you win. We didn’t last season because we wanted to play West Ham but we missed a penalty [and drew]we conceded in the 91st minute against Liverpool [to draw] Then you have no ability.

“In the end, the judgment will be based on the result. If they score in the last minute to make it 3-3, then we are not ready. The gap is too small. We don’t want to get better.”

Arteta’s side displayed a shrewdness that his counterpart Anj Postkoglu may feel Tottenham Hotspur lacks. The Australian has never employed a dedicated set-piece specialist on his staff, instead delegating the responsibility to existing members of the backroom set-up. There’s no foolproof recipe for success, but on days like this, the 58-year-old does feel like he’s missing a trick compared to Nicholas Joffre. The Frenchman, poached from Manchester City in July 2021, lingered on the touchline in every dead-ball situation and set a record for most Premier League goals scored from corners by Arsenal in a single season (16) More than any other team in La Liga since Tony Pulis’s side.

However, Postkoglu is more concerned about Arsenal’s maturity in game management, which is a big factor in why Spurs are fighting for fourth place and potentially losing the game, while Arsenal are challenging for a second successive title.

“If I thought that adjusting our defensive set-pieces was the answer to closing the gap, then I would put all my time and energy into it, but that’s not where we are now,” the Spurs boss said. “It’s important for us… that we don’t pay so much attention to details and not just set pieces. There are a lot of moments in the game that we don’t realize and if you give good opponents enough time and space Things, they can hurt you.

“We still haven’t focused on those little things that take you from where you are to a competitive team. That’s a credit to Arsenal. They’re there now. They’re a team that can handle the details very well. team.

When asked specifically about Romero’s contribution, Postkoglu’s response was clear: “He’s outstanding. He’s a World Cup winner and I have to take something from him and put it into other people.”

Arsenal and Arteta appear to have done just that, taking advantage of Havertz’s big-game experience, Rice’s personality and Saka’s relentless dedication of defenders and willingness to fight. Gabriel and William Saliba continue to provide a solid foundation for the team, while Thomas Partey’s physical presence is also welcomed in midfield.

The combination may not give them the title they crave, but Arsenal look set to push Manchester City into the wall.

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