Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has admitted his players watched Manchester City’s 2-1 home defeat by Brentford on the bus en route to Wolves on Saturday afternoon.
The Gunners had a tricky test at Molineux awaiting them on Saturday night, but before then the squad watched Pep Guardiola’s side succumb to a shock defeat on their own patch at the hands of the Bees. Two Ivan Toney goals on either side of Phil Foden’s first-half rocket were enough to inflict a second defeat of the season on City.
Toney’s second goal came deep into second-half stoppage time and Arteta conceded it sparked quite the reaction from his players. Pressed for comment on what his side thought of Brentford’s 97th-minute winner, the Arsenal boss simply replied: “You can imagine.”
Arteta will have been even more delighted by the way his own squad handled the threat of Wolves, registering an impressive 2-0 win on the road which guarantees the Gunners will be five points clear at the top of the table at Christmas.
Two goals from captain Martin Odegaard were enough to earn Arsenal a hard-fought three points. For all of Wolves’ threat at times, Gunners goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale was actually rarely called into action over the course of the 90 minutes.
The Arsenal boss was in no mood to get ahead of himself even after the Gunners win and City defeat. “Our focus is to be better every day and we still have things to improve,” Arteta admitted.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve been in this position, it’s a full transformation from the fans energy and passion that they’ve transmitted to these players.
“We showed another kind of maturity today to play their game, in the first 20-30 minutes we struggled to break them down.
“We were much better in the second half and we had a bit more courage and took risks but also not allowing them to run.”
Ramsdale echoed his manager’s sentiments after the game, insisting that the healthy lead Arsenal have built up over title rivals City doesn’t mean anything yet.
The Gunners shot-stopper told BBC Sport: “Every win is very big for us – away from home and at home.
“This place is tough to come and they showed that for 45 minutes. Massive win going into break and a bit of a bumper but that means nothing really.”
West Ham at the Emirates await Arsenal as their first game back from the World Cup break as their title tilt starts to take shape – something few would have predicted before a ball had been kicked this season.