EPL

'If I'm happy for anyone it's him' – Arteta hails Nketiah after spirited Arsenal response against Chelsea

By Sports Desk April 20, 2022

Mikel Arteta expressed his delight for Eddie Nketiah after the striker's first Premier League double saw Arsenal respond to a poor run of form with victory at Chelsea on Wednesday.

A frantic first half at Stamford Bridge saw Arsenal twice pegged back by Chelsea, after Timo Werner cancelled out Eddie Nketiah's opener, and Cesar Azpilicueta restored parity following Emile Smith Rowe's goal.

Nketiah delivered again after the interval before Bukayo Saka's penalty sealed a 4-2 victory as Arsenal moved level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham in the battle for Champions League qualification.

In Nketiah, Smith Rowe and Saka, Arsenal also saw three English players score in the same Premier League match versus Chelsea for the first time since September 1996.

Arteta reserved much of his praise for Nketiah, who proved his worth to the Gunners by scoring his first top-flight goals in over a year – since an injury-time equaliser versus Fulham in April 2021.

"What I've been saying all the time about Eddie, when you look at him in training and how humble he is all the time, good things happen," Arteta said of the forward.

"Good things happen to good people. He has proven that all season and he hasn't given any signs of anything different. If I'm happy for anyone it's him, because I know what he's been through. 

"The same with Mohamed Elneny and Rob Holding."

Manager Arteta also hailed the adaptability of his side, who ended a three-game losing streak with the success over Thomas Tuchel's European champions.

"The way they started the game was tactically really demanding, they kept changing their shape and we had to adapt," the Spaniard told Sky Sports.

"We managed to grab a little bit of the game, we looked dangerous on the counter-attack, we scored four goals and conceded twice.

"After two difficult weeks it's a great day. What I love is the spirit of these players. When you lose matches you get punished and criticised but with these players I don't care because they're growing.

"For us to win a London derby away the way we did it I'm really happy as well."

Arteta then added to reporters: “I said to them if you want to play Champions League football you have to come to places like this and win.”

Arsenal will be hoping to carry the impetus from the win over Chelsea when they on Saturday host fellow top-four chasers Manchester United, who have played a game more and are three points behind the Gunners.

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