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Arteta hails Arsenal’s character after comeback win over Bournemouth

ARSENAL manager Mikel Arteta has praised his side for their resilience following their 3-2 win over Bournemouth at the Emirates Stadium yesterday.

The Gunners trailed 2-0 but scored three second half goals through Thomas Partey, Ben White and Reiss Nelson to earn the dramatic victory that extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to five points over Manchester City.

“The team and individuals showed a different level of willingness to win, determination and initiative,” Arteta said during his post-match press conference.

“When the game gets ugly, there’s a moment that you can lose momentum, you can start to hide and start to navigate through the game. The players didn’t do that.

“They wanted the game, they wanted the ball every time, they took risks, they took initiative and kept trying until we broke them down. It was great to see that from the team.”

Given the nature of the victory, with Nelson’s winner coming in the seventh minute of added time, Arteta was asked if he believed in fate.

He replied: “I do, yes. Why? It was an extraordinary day, a beautiful experience at the end. Very dramatic, but worth living it because it was a great end.”

Arsenal went behind to Philip Billing’s goal just nine seconds into the match, and Arteta felt it took a Herculean effort for his side to recover from the early setback.

“It was madness from the first second of the game; that routine we knew they could do,” the Spaniard said.

“They did it brilliantly but we defended so poorly. We had to climb a mountain against 10 players behind the ball. We tried in every single way. We didn’t score the goal and suddenly we were 2-0 down because of a set-play.

“After that, [it was about] don’t lose the shape, don’t lose the discipline and start to do all the simple things right and try to score the first one. We did that. We showed a lot of maturity and resilience to do that. Once we did it, the atmosphere and the place changed the energy.

“Then it was about going for the second one. We created a lot of situations. I think we had 31 shots in total. When we scored the second one, it was: ‘OK, let’s throw the toys out and go for it’. I thought the subs made a huge impact today. I’m so happy for Reiss after the difficult months he’s had. It was an incredible day at the end.”

The former Manchester City assistant manager is confident the nature of yesterday’s victory and Arsenal’s current former could seen them over the line ahead of his former club.

“That’s four in a row – winning four games in a row in the Premier League is very difficult. We’ve won three in a week, which is even harder, and we’ve done it in various ways,” Arteta noted.

“That should generate more belief. Today, a lot of things went against the team. Our fault for the first one, then the fact we weren’t scoring, the situation with Leo, the set-play they had when they scored. The team still found a way to win the game and that’s really positive.”

With a five-point lead and 12 rounds of fixtures to end the season, Arsenal are on course for their first Premier League title since 2004, while Bournemouth are bottom of the table.

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