Mikel Arteta has heaped praise on his Arsenal side after they beat West Ham 2-0 to break into the top four of the Premier League.
The Gunners downed their London rivals at the Emirates Stadium thanks to goals from youngsters Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe.
Hammers defender Vladimir Coufal was sent off after receiving a second yellow card for bringing Alexandre Lacazette down in the penalty area.
The Frenchman stepped up to take the penalty, but had his shot saved by former Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.
Arteta’s men remained focused after the missed spot-kick to collect all three points and enter the Champions League places for the first time in 14 months.
“Really pleased with the performance, the quality, the energy, the passion and the crowd,” the Arsenal manager told BT Sport.
“We had some really good moments. It was a really difficult team to play against. They have a lot of solutions and are a threat in many, many ways. I think we controlled them pretty well so credit to the boys.
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 15, 2021
“It was a great first goal. That’s what Gabriel [Martinelli] can do. He is always a threat and this pace is really good for him to exploit.
“The second one was good on the counter-attack. It’s a shame we miss a penalty in that moment as it would have given us more time to relax because you can’t against this team. They can score a goal in any action.
“It was a big game for us to obviously have the capacity to go above them and move fourth. It was a statement.
“We had been pretty strong at home so we needed to put a good performance in against a good team and I think we did that.”
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed the match after a disciplinary breach which led to him being stripped of the captaincy.
Arteta insisted the players remained “fully focused” on the match, not allowing themselves to become distracted by the situation.
“They were fully focused,” he added. “They wanted to show how strong we are as a team. The performance, the attitude and the commitment they showed today is exactly what we are as a club.
“I expect it from every player – to stick to our values. We will talk about that another day. Today I want to talk about the game.”
Arteta did not reveal if Aubameyang will be selected for Saturday’s trip to Leeds: “He wasn’t eligible for this game and that’s it. This game is gone. We will discuss it in the near future.”
The post ‘It was a statement’ – Arteta ‘really pleased’ with West Ham win appeared first on Football365.