Arsenal boss Arteta left ego to one side to eke out point at Manchester City

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Mikel Arteta hailed his side’s mental fortitude in Sunday’s goalless draw at Manchester City – a match for which he “left his ego and ideologies aside” to grind out a point.

Arsenal’s free-flowing, attacking mentality was ditched for a more pragmatic approach and it worked as the visitors secured a result that keeps them firmly in contention at the top of the Premier League.

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They go into tomorrow night’s home game with Luton in second place in the table, two points behind leaders Liverpool and one clear of third-placed City.

Reflecting on the weekend stalemate, Arteta felt a change of tack was required. He said: “You have to. Sometimes because you want to adapt and sometimes because you need to adapt.

“You have to be resilient and leave your ego and ideologies aside. Mentally we were really strong in the way that we did perform.”

Key to Arsenal’s solidity was defensive pair William Saliba and Gabriel, who combined to stifle City dangerman Erling Haaland.

“You can see a balance and they compliment each other,” added Arteta.

“They are so happy to play with each other. It just flows. They have been really, really good.

“Saliba is a massive player for us and you see the impact he has on the team. We need everyone but he is really important.”

Arsenal were City’s closest challengers last season but they have progressed again this term with a Premier League and Champions League – in which they face an out of form Bayern Munich – double still possible.

Arteta said: “We are embracing the moment and making sure we prepare for each game.

“This is where we want to be and we want to take this opportunity and make this happen. We work every day with that enthusiasm and passion. I see the team really flowing and being excited to play these games. That has to be the vision and focus.

“I am full of energy and it is the most incredible part of the season. I wasn’t in this position when I was a player so this is different.”

Arsenal eeked out a 4-3 win at Luton in December courtesy of Declan Rice’s injury-time header and Arteta is a fan of the Hatters and their manager Rob Edwards.

“They have made it difficult for every team they have faced,” he said.

“I have to give big compliments to Rob [Edwards] and the team. They deserve more credit than any other team in this league. I have the most respect for them.

“It is going to be a really tough match. We had to fight to earn the points [in the reverse fixture] so we know what we’re facing tomorrow.”

Arteta is confident Bukayo Saka will be fit while his fellow winger Gabriel Martinelli could return having started on the bench at the Etihad.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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