Arteta praises Arsenal desire to ‘keep digging, keep believing’ as hope of ‘big reward’ in title remains alive

Mikel Arteta praised his side for the fact they “keep digging, keep believing” in the Premier League title race, knowing there is a “big reward” still in reach.

Arsenal have faltered of late, allowing title rivals Manchester City back into the race, and giving them the upper hand. Three draws in a row, against Liverpool, West Ham United and then Southampton did not help matters.

A thumping loss to City themselves did the majority of the damage after they’d sniffed out a way back in.

As such, things are now in City’s hands, with the Manchester side going four points ahead of the Gunners after their win over Leeds United.

Still, Arsenal will want to push them all the way, sticking to them and capitalising on any potential mistakes. Wins against big sides will show that Arteta’s men aren’t giving up.

A win against third-placed Newcastle United certainly does that. It also shows quite how dominant the top two have been, as it meant Arsenal extended the gap between themselves and the Magpies to 16 points.

As has been the case so often this season, Arsenal skipper Martin Odegaard got his name on the scoresheet. The midfielder scored the opener in the 14th minute, his 15th league goal of the campaign.

The lead was doubled thanks to an own goal from Fabian Schar in the second half, giving the Gunners a 2-0 win.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Arteta praised his side for having what it takes to win a big match, after a few slips of late, given the massive reward of the Premier League title is not yet out of reach, with the Gunners now back within a point of City.

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“I think they showed what it takes to come here in this environment against a great team, what it takes to win,” he said.

“The desire to keep digging, keep believing, that reward is so big and today we had to do it here, we did everything we had to do to win the game.”

Pressed on the slip up which meant Arsenal lost out to Tottenham in the top-four race last season, Arteta touched upon the opportunity to make up for that, which shows they can also make up for allowing City a route back into the title race.

“Sport in general gives you another opportunity and [when] you have the privilege to have another opportunity you have to take it,” he said.

“To take it you have to learn from those moments and you really have to see yourself how you felt in that moment to overcome it and act in a different way and the team did that today.”

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