Arsenal: Mikel Arteta says Eddie Nketiah’s late goal was ‘a beautiful moment’
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said it was a “beautiful moment” when Eddie Nketiah scored a dramatic late goal against Manchester United.
The match appeared to be heading towards a 2-2 draw after Lisandro Martinez equalized for Erik ten Hag’s side.
But Naqtia – who also scored in the first half – scored in the 90th minute to keep Arsenal five points clear of the Premier League.
“I really enjoyed it,” Arteta told BBC Sport.
With pressure on Arsenal Next Manchester City win 3-0 At Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier on Sunday, Nketiah’s winning close-range goal was met with enthusiastic scenes inside the Emirates Stadium.
Arteta added: “It was a beautiful moment at the end and we go with our people behind us. It was beautiful.”
They had to wait for confirmation that they had all three points, however, after a video assistant referee checked to determine if Nketiah was on the side.
Even Arteta admitted he wasn’t sure if the decisive goal would be achieved.
“[The officials] “We were looking for something we hadn’t seen and we felt very comfortable,” said the Spanish coach. “We celebrated twice.”
Marcus Rashford put the visitors ahead in the 17th minute with a superb strike before Nketiah equalized for the hosts shortly after.
Bukayo Saka then put Arsenal ahead early in the second half, and while it looked like the points would be shared after Martinez’s headed goal, Arteta felt confident his team had the mentality for success.
“They surprise me with how they react,” he said. “We encourage them to play freestyle football and there is energy in the team and good things are happening.
“Doing it repeatedly against the big teams, the way we played today, gives me a lot of positivity for the future.
“It’s very tight now in the league, there are such small margins. Win, lose or draw, you have to be aware of that.
“If we can tap into the energy, that would be a positive.”
In addition to a five-point lead, Arsenal have a match in hand against Pep Guardiola’s City, and have reached 50 points after playing 19 games of the season – their best start to a league campaign.
The two teams will battle it out in the next FA Cup when they meet in the fourth round on Friday.
“We made mistakes” – Ten Hag
Manchester United came to North London on the back of a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace, A result that deprived them of their tenth successive victory.
Rashford’s opening goal – his ninth goal in all competitions since the World Cup – was the dream ten Hag could have hoped for, but the United boss was disappointed with his team’s lack of focus.
“All the goals we conceded today are mistakes – this cannot happen,” the Dutch coach told Sky Sports.
“Until last week, it was difficult for us to win in situations like this. Today we weren’t. All three goals, we could have avoided.”
Ten Hag missed out on influential midfielder Casemiro in the match with Arsenal, with the Brazilian serving a one-match suspension for picking up his fifth yellow card in midweek.
While acknowledging that Arsenal are “good at the ball”, Ten Hag said his side were “a good defensive team” and should have done better against the league leaders.
“There weren’t a lot of opportunities open,” he added. “We made mistakes that we couldn’t make. This match was decided by small details but also by decision-making.
“It’s hard to accept that and we have to learn from it. I want to win. It’s not good enough. We want to be number one, but not if we make mistakes. That’s clear and what I told them.”
United ranks fourth with 39 points, with Newcastle in third place, and faces Nottingham Forest away from home in the first leg of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.