Sunday January 22, 2023
By Martyn Herman
January 22, 2023 Arsenal's Oleksandr Zinchenko in action as Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta looks on Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra
LONDON, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Apart from picking up a yellow card Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta enjoyed the perfect Sunday afternoon as his side completed the first half of their Premier League campaign by reaching 50 points with a 3-2 win over Manchester United.
Two goals by Eddie Nketiah and one from Bukayo Saka -- both products of Arsenal's academy -- sealed the win that lifted Arsenal five points clear of champions Manchester City.
It is their best ever start to a Premier League campaign and while there is a long way to go, Arteta's young side are growing in belief that they can stay the course.
No wonder the Spaniard said "it doesn't get much better than this" as he evaluated a deserved victory over a United side who now find themselves 11 points in arrears.
"Emotional, a lot of passion, a lot of quality. It doesn't get much better than that. After the derby (against Tottenham), to come against this team and play the way we played. The second half especially, the performance was incredible," he said.
Arsenal had to shake off the blow of going behind to a Marcus Rashford goal and then were pegged back to 2-2 when Lisandro Martinez punished a mistake by home keeper Aaron Ramsdale. But they ended the game in dominant fashion.
Arteta's side showed great maturity in the closing stages, pinning United back with their intensity.
"We were composed and determined at the same time. We managed the moments in the game. We never panicked. We always believed that we could win it," Arteta said.
"We showed the right composure in the box a lot of times but the ball didn't go in. Thankfully at the end it did."Eddie Nketiah (L) and Bukayo Saka (R) - Sky Sports
The way Arsenal won the game made it even more special with Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville saying the Arsenal display was reminiscent of some of the great teams under Arsene Wenger.
Arsenal full back Oleksandr Zinchenko, who has experienced title-winning seasons with Manchester City, said the victory so late was extra sweet.
"I love this winning, you know? The winning feeling in the last minute, the last second. It's something you cannot describe," he said. "Today was unbelievable."
I need to watch it again before I go to bed because these are the magic moments."
While Arsenal are now the bookmakers' favourites to win the title for the first time since 2004, Arteta was quick to offer some words of caution.
"I have no clue (if we are favourites)," the former Arsenal midfielder said. "The margins are very small in this league. We deserve to be where we are because of how we're playing. But there are a lot of things that we can do much better."