Mike Arteta summed it up perfectly. In essence, the Arsenal head coach pointed out that good sides win when they don’t play particularly well after the Gunners beat West Ham United 1-0 yesterday.
Arteta’s men rode their luck to a certain extent and if the lowly Hammers had taken their chances in the Premier League game at the Emirates Stadium it could have been a different story entirely.
But, of course, they didn’t. So, when sub Alex Lacazette popped up with a goal it was clear that luck was on the home team’s side. Not that they didn’t deserve it. They enjoyed most of the possession and as Arteta said, you’d take a slender win and the three points all day long at this stage of the season.
Not that there wasn’t a chaotic scene surrounding the France striker’s goal with 12 minutes remaining. He volleyed home from close range after Mesut Ozil headed invitingly into his path but the goal was initially overruled for offside. But VAR came to the Gunners’ rescue when it correctly ruled that Ozil wasn’t offside when he made the play.
Speaking to the assembled press after the win, Spanish boss Arteta said:
“I’m really happy because big teams find a way when they aren’t playing well. We are turning the corner in terms of results, but our ship still has to turn a few times more to see what we want to see. But as we know it doesn’t happen overnight. The most important thing is to find a way to win. That is what the big clubs do. A lot of things need to improve. But let us just enjoy the day. We have to take it game by game.”
Despite an indifferent display, the job was done and Arsenal didn’t concede and took the points. The other upside of the win was the performance of keeper Bernd Leno who was voted most fans’ man of the match after delivering a string of superb saves to keep his side in the game during the many attacks that were launched by David Moyes’ visiting side.
Another positive was the performance of Spanish midfield ace Dani Ceballos. The playmaker was easily the Gunners’ best outfield player and would have given his boss plenty to ponder given that he is only on loan from Real Madrid. Arteta must decide at the end of this campaign whether or not he takes up an option to snap up the star on a permanent deal.
Central defender Pablo Mari, another player on loan (although it is pretty certain he will make the move from Flamengo permanent in the summer) did well enough in his Premier League debut alongside David Luiz. Arteta’s take on his progress since his arrival in January:
“He was very good and in the first half he took a few moments to sort out what he needed to do. He’s brave, and willing, he’s impressive without the ball and he has a presence. He is vocal around his team. I’m really pleased with him.”