Arteta ‘proud’ of Arsenal’s never-say-die spirit
Gunners head coach praises the togetherness his side showed to earn a 2-2 draw at Chelsea despite only having 10-men
22 January, 2020 — By Steve Barnett
CHELSEA (Jorginho 28 pen, Azpilicueta 84)
ARSENAL (Luis sent off 26, Martinelli 63, Bellerin 87)
MIKEL Arteta praised the “togetherness and leadership” that he saw in his side after 10-man Arsenal twice came from behind to claim a dramatic 2-2 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge tonight (Tuesday).
The chances of the Gunners taking something from the game took a massive hit midway through the first half when David Luiz was sent off against his former club after bringing down Tammy Abraham following an under-hit backpass from Shkodran Mustafi, with Jorginho converting the resulting penalty.
But a stunning individual goal from Gabriel Martinelli just after the hour mark gave the visitors a renewed hope – the 18-year-old Brazilian sprinting almost 70-yards before coolly finding the back of the net.
Cesar Azpilicueta’s looked to have undone all of Arsenal’s hardwork in the 84th minute when he struck from close-range.
But fit-again Hector Bellerin, who returned to the Gunners starting-line up wearing the captain’s armband, scored with a sweet left-footed effort just minutes later to secure a draw which felt much more like a win for the north Londoners.
“I am proud,” said Arteta in his post-match press conference. “The spirit they showed, the character, the fight and the leadership was there.
“You have to really stand up. When someone makes a mistake and someone has to take a red card, it can happen in football. What cannot happen is that afterwards, we don’t stand up for him. Every single player did it with belief as well.
“I could sense at half-time that they believed they could get back in the game. I wasn’t expecting Hector to score with his left foot, obviously, but I’m very pleased.”
CHELSEA: Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Christensen, Emerson, Kante (Mount, 69), Jorginho, Kovacic (Barkley, 66), Hudson-Odoi, Abraham, Willian (Batshuayi, 79)
Substitutes not used: Caballero, Alonso, Zouma, Pedro
ARSENAL: Leno, Bellerin, Mustafi, Luiz (sent off 26), Saka, Torreira, Xhaka, Pepe (Holding, 81), Ozil (Guendouzi, 55), Martinelli (Willock 91+1), Lacazette
Substitutes not used: Martínez, Maitland-Niles, Ceballos, Nketiah