Bournemouth injected hope into their Premier League survival push with a remarkable 4-1 comeback win over 10-man Leicester City on Sunday.

Leicester looked on course for only a second league win since last month's resumption after Jamie Vardy's 23rd-minute opener, but they capitulated in the second half.

A Kasper Schmeichel error just past the hour led to Wilfred Ndidi conceding a penalty, which Junior Stanislas converted, and 101 seconds later Dominic Solanke ended a 39-match wait for a first top-flight goal for the club. Caglar Soyuncu received a straight red in the aftermath due to an altercation with Callum Wilson.

A Jonny Evans own goal in the 83rd minute effectively secured the win, before Solanke's second rounded it off – the victory moving Bournemouth back to within three points of safety ahead of their final three games, while Leicester will slip to fifth if Manchester United beat Southampton on Monday.

Mikel Arteta acknowledged Arsenal's 2-1 defeat at Tottenham dealt their European ambitions a "massive blow" but credited Jose Mourinho with making their lives difficult.

Arsenal took a 16th-minute lead through a thunderous Alexandre Lacazette effort in the north London derby at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but Son Heung-min pounced on Sead Kolasinac's wayward pass to David Luiz to equalise three minutes later.

The Gunners were on top in the second half but struggled to break down a Spurs side defending in two solid banks, with Toby Alderweireld snatching a winner for Mourinho's men nine minutes from time.

Arsenal consequently sit ninth with three games remaining, four points adrift of seventh-placed Sheffield United in the final European qualification spot – though eighth will offer a route into Europe if Manchester City's two-season ban from continental competition is not wiped out on Monday.

"Points-wise it's a massive blow because we know the results this weekend, but we'll keep trying while we have hope," said Arteta.

"We'll fight in the league and the FA Cup to do our best and try to finish as strong as possible."

He added: "I'm disappointed and frustrated. I'm really sorry for the boys first, because of the personality they showed to come here and show who we are.

"Nullify the opponent, press them high, just force them to kick the ball long and defend [in] a low block, which is exactly what we wanted to do, but if you give two goals away against these players it's difficult to win a derby.

"We can do more and be more incisive and exploit spaces better than what we've done. Sometimes the rhythm, the urgency and the link of distances wasn't exactly there, many times it was, and the purpose was there.

"To attack a template that is like this [puts one hand in front of the other] all the time is not an easy thing to do. We tried and had enough chances to win a derby.

"I can see what [Mourinho's] trying to do and, look, he wins again. It's two completely different styles. He manages really well, he has a good team behind him. He always finds a way to win it."

Arteta rued Arsenal's inability to cut out sloppy mistakes, which have proved so costly during his tenure.

"It is mentally tough, because in your mindset, you're ahead and controlling the game and everything we talked about is happening, and then you just give the moment away and mentally it affects the whole mood and momentum and our energy," said Arteta.

"We came back in the second half, we were even better, we were even more dominant, we were looking to score the second goal and then just in one isolated action we conceded the set-piece.

"We have to learn. Every game something happens, a little margin here and a little margin there. I'm sure we'll get there and I'm proud because I've never seen the play like the way they've played in this ground."

Jose Mourinho celebrated his first north London derby victory as the Tottenham boss roared: "It came from my players' hearts." 

A 2-1 home success against Arsenal came thanks to goals from Son Heung-min and Toby Alderweireld, the latter heading an 81st-minute winner. 

Spurs boss Mourinho was thrilled his team came out on top, having been in action as recently as Thursday when they drew at Bournemouth, two days after Arsenal had played against Leicester City. 

"[We had] great spirit," Mourinho told Sky Sports. "It was really hot, I think, during the game. Nobody thought about it, even myself I didn't, but Arsenal had 48 hours more than us to rest so it was hard. 

"But I think it came from their hearts, this effort, this battle, and even in the last minutes of the game after 2-1 [we had] zero problems, everything under control. 

"We are happy because we made the fans happy. We are happy because we are still in the fight for a Europa League position." 

Mourinho could still fail to take his team into next season's European competitions. It came as a blow to Spurs when rivals Burnley and Sheffield United picked up points from Saturday's games against Liverpool and Chelsea, while Wolves defeated Everton in Sunday's early kick-off.

Just three games remain for Tottenham, and they may need nine points from those fixtures against Newcastle United, Leicester City and Crystal Palace. 

"I know that Chelsea and Liverpool didn't help us at all, but this is about us," Mourinho said. "We must do the points and we lost some important points, but now we have nine to fight for." 

For Arsenal the situation regarding Europe is rather more bleak, given they are two points worse off than Spurs with games running out. 

Alderweireld described the win as "massive for us", dedicating it to the absent Spurs supporters. 

"It's a present for them, an unbelievable Sunday," he said. 

A behind-closed-doors derby took some spice out of the fixture, but Alderweireld insisted Spurs were up for the occasion from the first minute. 

"We knew it would be difficult without fans," the defender said. "It would be a totally different atmosphere if the fans were here, but I think we did everything we could. 

"I think we want to prove some points because in the press there has been a lot of negativity about the team. I think today we showed we have character and really wanted it." 

The first-half finishes produced by Alexandre Lacazette and Son Heung-min were moments of contrasting beauty in Sunday's disorientating north London derby. 

Matches behind closed doors are the not-so-new normal, but those fixtures where the sound and fury tends to be turned up the loudest – such as any encounter between Tottenham and Arsenal – seem to sit most uneasily within it. 

The scenes of bedlam among both sets of fans that would have accompanied both the Gunners' gatecrashing opener and Spurs' rapid response are easy to wistfully imagine and miss. 

Lacazette's 16th-minute strike was one of brutal, destructive power underpinned by purity of technique. When the shot careered into the top left corner, it felt like it might pull Hugo Lloris' goalposts along with it. 

Arsenal joy was short-lived, though, as Son dinked an irresistibly cute finish beyond Emiliano Martinez, the ball looping obediently into its intended target. 

These was goalscoring feats of the highest order, fit to grace any team or occasion. 

What came immediately before both goals spoke unpalatable truths to two giants of the English game with ambitions far outstripping their present standings of eighth and ninth in the Premier League table. 

Granit Xhaka was careless in possession as Arsenal attacked, trying to shake the effects of a probing Spurs start at odds with their limp efforts last time out at Bournemouth. Serge Aurier stepped in, only to blunder into midfield and allow the Switzerland international to retrieve the situation. 

Take two. Xhaka found Lacazette and Spurs were far too happy to idly watch his striking masterclass. 

Just over two minutes later and David Luiz was at the centre of a moment of high defensive farce. For once, it wasn't the accident-prone Brazilian's fault. Sead Kolasinac sent a brainless pass beyond his beleaguered colleague, who was fighting a losing battle when it came to making up ground on Son. 

Mikel Arteta reverting to a 3-4-3 led to Kolasinac's haphazard involvement on the left of a back three, while Jose Mourinho set out Spurs in an unfamiliar 4-4-2.

Those adjusted new systems were perhaps partly culpable for this looking not very much like an elite encounter. The first half was dominated by midfield players roving through chaotic expanses of space, the action devoid of structure. 

If it had unfolded amid a white-hot derby atmosphere, it might have been partly understandable. In a supporter-less setting it simply looked like two teams reverting to mid-table type. 

Those clubs existing in closer proximity to the top four have had seasons of ups and downs, dealing with their own shortcomings. Yet they do seem to have a far greater grasp of their destiny over the course of 90 minutes.

Ben Davies unleashed a long-ranger that Martinez tipped on to his crossbar before half-time, although when the Golden Boot-chasing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hit the same goal frame in the 59th minute it was Arsenal in the ascendancy. 

Spurs' earlier ambition had shrivelled as they shrunk closer and closer to their own goal. Arsenal are a team at the start of their journey under Arteta and briefly appeared primed to pile further misery upon Mourinho's inherited Mauricio Pochettino vintage that had turned sour. 

However, Arteta would again find out that one step forward/one step back has become hardwired into the DNA of the club he loves. Toby Alderweireld's header from Son's 81st-minute corner means Arsenal have now dropped a staggering 21 points from winning positions this season. 

The Belgium centre-back's winner also felt familiar in terms of this stage of Mourinho's career. Like when Spurs were somehow battered in a 2-0 victory over Manchester City in February, or those last defiant wheezes against big-name opponents as his Manchester United career stumbled towards a conclusion. 

Finding a way to win is an admirable trait, but how much can it galvanise when the overall direction of travel for Mourinho's Tottenham looks so unclear? Buying valuable time, but to what end? 

The team with a muddled identity but some cutting edge eventually overcame the one with a swiftly established identity but a reliably soft underbelly. 

Spurs and Arsenal is a rivalry well-matched because of their shortcomings as much as their stars. As Sunday's encounter showed, there is work to be done on either side of the north London divide.

Toby Alderweireld scored a late headed winner to secure Tottenham a 2-1 north London derby victory over Arsenal, boosting Spurs' European hopes at the expense of their visitors. 

Spurs were second best for much of the encounter and conceded first, but after equalising and then holding firm against a dominant Arsenal, Alderweireld glanced home late on to move Jose Mourinho's men above the Gunners in the table. 

While the game perhaps lacked some of the derby's usual ferocity, the first half certainly provided thrills and spills, with Alexandre Lacazette's spectacular opener and Son Heung-min's well-taken leveller both consequences of defensive mishaps. 

The contest was considerably different after the break, however, as Spurs sat back and appeared to invite pressure on. After seeing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hit the crossbar, the hosts clinched victory nine minutes from time, keeping them in the hunt for a European spot. 

West Midlands Police have arrested a 12-year-old boy after Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha shared racist messages he was sent ahead of Sunday's game against Aston Villa. 

Zaha posted on Twitter ahead of the Premier League fixture to show screenshots he received from an Instagram account bearing the handle @jackdolan_avfc. 

The first image showed a message that read: "You better not score tomorrow you black c***. Or I'll come to your house dressed as a ghost." 

Further abusive messages featured a mocked-up image of a man in blackface on a cereal box, alongside a vile racial slur, and a picture of a Ku Klux Klan rally. 

Zaha presented the images with the caption: "Woke up to this today." 

A statement tweeted by West Midlands Police following Palace's 2-0 loss at Villa Park read: "We were alerted to a series of racist messages sent to a footballer today and after looking into them and conducting checks, we have arrested a boy. 

"The 12-year-old from Solihull has been taken into custody. Thanks to everyone who raised it. Racism won't be tolerated." 

Since the Premier League returned from its suspension amid the coronavirus pandemic, teams have worn 'Black Lives Matter' logos on their kits, with players taking a knee before kick-off in each match to show solidarity with the movement.

In a short statement on their official Twitter account, Palace said: "This is an absolute disgrace and should not be happening.

"We stand with you, Wilf, and anyone else who has to suffer such horrific abuse."

Villa issued their own response, stating they intended to issue a lifetime ban when the perpetrator was identified.

They tweeted: "We deplore the disgusting racist messages sent to @wilfriedzaha. We condemn all forms of racial discrimination and stand with @CPFC.

"We are working with the police in investigating this extremely serious matter and when the culprit is identified AVFC will issue a lifetime ban."

Wolves cruised to a 3-0 Premier League win over Everton to keep their Champions League hopes alive as Aston Villa claimed a crucial victory in the battle for survival.

Nuno Espirito Santo's men opened the scoring from the penalty spot in first-half stoppage time, as Raul Jimenez coolly converted from 12 yards after Daniel Podence was fouled by Lucas Digne.

Forty-seven seconds into the second half Wolves were 2-0 up, Leander Dendoncker nodding in Pedro Neto's free-kick.

Diogo Jota rifled in at the near post to make it 3-0 in the 74th minute after collecting a stunning ball over the top from Ruben Neves as Wolves moved within three points of fifth-placed Manchester United, who host Southampton on Monday.

Villa faced a must-win situation after West Ham and Watford both claimed maximum points on Saturday and they delivered by defeating Crystal Palace 2-0.

Dean Smith's side gained an early reprieve when Palace defender Mamadou Sakho saw a goal chalked off for handball after VAR ruled he used his arm to divert a set piece into the net..

Trezeguet gave Villa the lead in injury time at the end of the first half, slotting in at the far post after Palace failed to defend a free-kick.

Palace looked to have conceded a penalty two minutes into the second half after Jack Grealish went over in the box. VAR intervened in Palace's favour this time but Trezeguet poked underneath Vicente Guaita in the 59th minute to secure the points.

Former Villa striker Christian Benteke was sent off after the final whistle following an off-the-ball incident with Ezri Konsa.

Villa are four points adrift of safety with three games to go.

Before kick-off, Villa pledged to issue a lifetime ban to a supporter who racially abused Palace star Wilfried Zaha on social media.

Bukayo Saka is a surprise omission from the Arsenal starting XI as Nicolas Pepe is given the nod by Mikel Arteta for the north London derby. 

Arsenal go to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium just a point above their hosts, and both will be hoping for a victory to boost faltering bids for European football. 

Arteta has once again chosen to go with the 3-4-3 formation that has largely proved dependable for the Gunners in recent weeks. 

However, the talented Saka must be content with a place on the bench despite setting up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the Gunners' 1-1 draw with Leicester City on Tuesday. 

Saka has been a shining light for Arsenal this term, with the 18-year-old setting up 12 goals across all competitions this season. 

Taking his place in the line-up is Pepe, who starts for the first time this month. After a shaky start, the Ivorian has gone on to have a relatively promising debut season with the Gunners, having a hand in 11 Premier League goals. 

There are few surprises in the Tottenham team, with Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min joining Harry Kane in attack, while Tanguy Ndombele is left on the bench yet again – the Frenchman is yet to start a Premier League match since its resumption last month. 

Nemanja Matic is enthused by the young talent that has fired Manchester United's revival but believes more improvement is needed to challenge for the Premier League title.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are enjoying an unbeaten run in all competitions that stretches back to January 22.

Since the Premier League's return from lockdown, United have been in electrifying form, with breakout displays from teenage forward Mason Greenwood and Bruno Fernandes' galvanising effect to the fore.

Matic claimed Premier League glory in 2014-15 and 2016-17 at Chelsea and feels United and their exciting attack must continue to realise their potential more fully if they are to dethrone Liverpool.

"I have to be honest: it was not always easy to be in our team because we had a lot of young players, with no experience of playing at the highest level," he told Stats Perform News.

"But that was a period of transition of our team and I think in the last few years many players matured a lot.

"I have to mention [Marcus] Rashford, [Anthony] Martial, Greenwood, so many players matured a lot. They know they have a lot of responsibility; they play every game.

"I am happy to see them improving, taking responsibility and I am sure this team can only improve.

"It was difficult for us in the past because we were inconsistent, but I think the team is ready, more experienced. If we can improve 10 or 20 per cent more then we can challenge for the title next season."

Chelsea's 3-0 defeat at Sheffield United on Saturday has left the door ajar to the top four and United will go above Frank Lampard's men if they beat Southampton on Monday.

"We are fighting, we are playing, we want to finish in the top four. There are only four games left but we are there," Matic said.

"We are fighting with Chelsea and Leicester [City] for that position, we know it's going to be hard, but we will try and win every game until the end. We want to win the Europa League and the FA Cup."

Chelsea are also in United's way in next weekend's FA Cup semi-finals, while a 5-0 first-leg lead over LASK means they can expect to contest a Europa League quarter-final against Istanbul Basaksehir or Copenhagen next month.

Lifting the Europa League, as they did in 2016-17, of course represents another route into the Champions League if required.

"I don't think it adds more pressure, but it does give you more chances to play in the Champions League," Matic said.

"I think it's great what they did that clubs have an opportunity to fight for the Champions League.

"Also, a trophy is a trophy and we want to win, we can show our kids one day, every trophy is important to us."

The likelihood is that VAR decisions will come under the microscope once again as United contest the closing weeks of the season with all to play for.

Nevertheless, Matic is broadly a fan of the much-maligned system, although he feels breaks in play could be speeded up.

"I think it is better with VAR," he added. "Before, when referees made mistakes, it was finished.

"Now with the VAR they reduce the mistakes. There will always be mistakes because we are human, but I believe it will reduce the mistakes, so I support it.

"It needs to be faster. In the game against Bournemouth [United's recent 5-2 Premier League win] we had to wait too long.

"It's not easy to decide quickly but if they could improve more then it would be perfect."

Marcus Rashford deserves more credit for his "amazing" teamwork for Manchester United despite his goal return drying up, Bruno Fernandes says.

Rashford reached 20 for the season in all competitions with a penalty in the 5-2 Premier League win over Bournemouth at Old Trafford.

This has been the England forward's most productive campaign of his career in terms of goal involvements, but he has not yet scored from open play since the Premier League returned last month.

Fernandes has had no such trouble finding the net, his four goals in his past three league games helping him to win the Premier League Player of the Month award for the second time in a row.

But the Portugal star insists Rashford is hugely important for a United side unbeaten in 17 matches and with a top-four finish now in their own hands.

"I think everyone is talking about Marcus not scoring a lot of goals but he is doing an amazing job," Fernandes told United's website ahead of Monday's game against Southampton.

"The game he is playing now, maybe he is not achieving his goals and everything but, with everything we are doing now, he will achieve more goals and more assists. In the games, in the complete football, because football is not just about goals and assists, it is about the team and Marcus is playing very well for the team.

"I hope Marcus can find more goals because he deserves it for the work he is doing for the team, and nobody sees it because everyone sees the goals and who scores and assists. The work he is doing for the team is amazing.

"Marcus was injured for a long time so it's difficult to find that confidence again, to do things like shoot from far out. But he is doing an amazing job for the group and I think he deserves credit for this."

Fernandes drew attention to Rashford's off-the-ball run in the 3-0 win at Brighton and Hove Albion that helped to create the space for the swift counter-attack that ended with Fernandes volleying in United's third goal.

"The play we did, the way we came to score, means it's one of the best goals from a team [perspective] that I've scored,” he said.

"That's because of all the teamwork. We won the ball with the header from H [Harry Maguire], Nemanja [Matic] takes the ball and Mason [Greenwood] did an amazing run but, at that moment, Rashy did a perfect run. He was one of the far [off] guys but comes so fast to the goal that defenders know if they give him space, he will score. 

"So maybe he [the defender] closes him down being closer to the ball and, when the cross comes over, and it was a great ball by Mason, after that I just need to score the goal."

Juventus and Inter are reportedly ready to do battle for Roma star Nicolo Zaniolo.

Zaniolo, 21, made his return from a serious knee injury this month and has repeatedly been linked with a move away from Roma.

A pair of Serie A giants may be ready to fight for the midfielder's services.

 

TOP STORY – INTER, JUVE TO BATTLE FOR ZANIOLO

Inter are ready to challenge Juventus to sign Roma star Zaniolo, according to CalcioMercato.

Zaniolo is considered one of Europe's best young talents, and left Inter for Roma in 2018.

Roma reportedly want at least €50million for the five-time Italy international.

 

ROUND-UP

- Contracted at Manchester City until 2021, Sergio Aguero may yet stay at the Etihad Stadium a little longer. The Mirror reports City have not ruled out giving the star forward, 32, a one-year extension.

- With Neymar repeatedly linked with a return to Barcelona, it seems the LaLiga giants are wanting to distance themselves from the Paris Saint-Germain star. Marca says Barca are keen to see the rumours of a potential return for Neymar stop.

- Staying at Camp Nou and Barcelona apparently have interest in two players from Tottenham. The Daily Star says Barca want Ryan Sessegnon and Tanguy Ndombele. However, it reports Spurs will reject all offers for Sessegnon this close season.

- Philippe Coutinho's future remains unclear. Mundo Deportivo reports the playmaker, who is on loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona until the end of the season, will not decide his future until after the Champions League next month.

- Plenty of talk continues to surround Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is coming out of contract at the Premier League club next year. The Daily Star reports the forward will sign a contract extension with Arsenal – if no other club makes an official approach.

- After just two goals in 25 games for Real Madrid, Luka Jovic seems set for an exit. According to Mundo Deportivo, Juventus, Inter, Chelsea, Leicester City, Milan and Napoli are all considering moves for the forward.

Pep Guardiola lauded Raheem Sterling's development after the attacker's hat-trick in Manchester City's 5-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion.

Sterling's treble saw him move onto 27 goals this season, the most he has scored in a single campaign.

Guardiola paid tribute to the England international, with Gabriel Jesus and Bernardo Silva also on the scoresheet in the convincing win on Saturday.

"All credit to [Sterling]. Not just for the three goals, it's important for what we have ahead of us," the Manchester City manager told a news conference.

"His development as a player is because he wants to improve and we are so delighted with his performance.

"Raheem himself knows exactly what he has to do. He's a huge competitor and is self-confident, aggressive, he loves to score goals.

"We have wingers with the mentality to score goals which is so important."

City's win saw them mathematically secure a top-four finish in the Premier League with three games remaining.

However, they will have to wait until Monday to learn whether their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against a two-year European ban has been successful.

Guardiola said he was "very" confident City would be successful, while adding they had proven they deserved their place in the Champions League.

"It's the [CAS] decision, so it's so important. Of course it is. We have done what we have done, won our qualification on the pitch. No one can doubt this," he said.

"It's been an outstanding season from Liverpool, and congratulations to them again for winning the Premier League.

"In general, the level that we played at today has been quite similar for the whole season and now we're going to wait for Monday for the decision that will be taken."

Raheem Sterling is eager to make his record scoring season count by helping Manchester City secure silverware after his hat-trick in the 5-0 away win over Brighton and Hove Albion.

City made a top-four finish mathematically certain, as well as all but wrapping up second place as a treble from Sterling, plus goals from Gabriel Jesus and Bernardo Silva, saw off sorry Brighton.

It was a welcome away win on Saturday after three consecutive Premier League defeats on their travels, with a home game with Bournemouth up next before a key FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal.

Sterling has six goals in his past five games and moved onto 27 in all competitions, making this his best scoring season.

"The most important thing for me is trying to have goals to add value to the team," Sterling said to Sky Sports.

"At the end of the day [it is most important] to try and win the FA Cup final and try to win the Champions League as well otherwise these goals don't mean anything.

"I need to try and make these goals count.

"I think the problem we have had this season is we have created a lot of chances, but last season and the season before we had finished them and buried games early on.

"This season we haven't had that slight bit of luck but we are growing, doing things right and that is we need to do, continue making chances. We can't complain.

"We were disappointed last weekend with the loss away to Southampton when we created chances but we didn’t finish them. It is great to bounce back with another away win."

Sterling moved onto 17 Premier League goals and was asked if he was eyeing a late push for the golden boot, with Jamie Vardy five ahead of him atop the scoring charts.

Sterling said: "I said to myself earlier that I'm on 14 now and I need to score a hat-trick – and I’m grateful that I scored a hat-trick."

The England international was laughing as he attempted to answer what his intentions were for his hat-trick goal, which came in unusual circumstances nine minutes from time.

He inadvertently scored a header – his second of the match – through the legs of goalkeeper Mat Ryan while he was falling to the ground having forced his way past two Brighton defenders.

Sterling said: "I tried to flick it over his head, and I've seen the keeper come out and I have headed it in! It counts!"

Kieran Tierney is going nowhere after finally making his presence felt at Arsenal and proving to be "a great addition" to Mikel Arteta's team.

Arsenal paid a reported £25million to sign left-back Tierney from Celtic last August but he did not make his debut until the end of September due to a groin problem.

He then required surgery on his shoulder in December and was ruled out for three months, finally making his return when the Premier League resumed in June following its hiatus amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Arteta has deployed a three-man defence in the Gunners' past three matches, with Tierney gaining plaudits for his performances in a slightly more advanced role on the left.

Earlier this year the Scotland international was linked with a move away from Emirates Stadium due to his injury problems, but Arteta feels he can be an asset to Arsenal in the long term.

"I'm very impressed with him since I joined, just before he started to play games as well, just how he was acting and working on his rehab," said Arteta ahead of the north London derby against Tottenham on Sunday.

"Everyone loves him at the club and it's not a coincidence, he earns that every single day [with] the way he treats people, the way he walks around the club, the energy he brings to the place. Then with his performances, I'm delighted.

"He's adapted really well, he's a player that gives you everything in every session and every game, and the quality as well that he's added, he's still so young, still things to improve obviously, but he's been a great addition to the team.

"He's not going anywhere. He had a really difficult period because of the injuries, because he moved to a different city and a different context.

"Back in Glasgow he was with a club that was winning all the time and he was very settled. It was a challenge for him and he's been dealing with that in the best possible way – with some difficulties, he needed the club to support him and his team-mates to make life easier for him.

"We're all trying to help him, but you help him with pleasure because of what he brings and how willing he is all the time to work, improve and give his maximum to the team.

"I think Kieran has adapted really, really well. Obviously it's a collective game and you need the right structure, the right people around you, the right players supporting you, to play in your best position obviously, and we are learning where he feels most comfortable and how he can have a bigger impact on the team. It's a process we are in."

Arteta outlined the reason for his recent tactical shift, stating it was part through necessity and part due to a desire to add some unpredictability.

"Well, we changed a little bit our formation in the last few weeks, just adapting to the injuries we have and the issues that occur around the team," he said.

"We need to be more flexible and we need adaptability, and we cannot be so predictable as well.

"I think it's very important that we are able to dominate different areas, different formations to improve as a team."

Arsenal are unbeaten in five games since losing back-to-back matches against Manchester City and Brighton and Hove Albion upon the league's return.

"I think you learn from every performance, from every reaction that situations bring to the team. The Brighton team again, I never faulted their effort or how willing they were or how hard they fought, it was about competing," said Arteta.

"In this league you cannot switch off, you cannot give anything to an opponent. If we are able to do that in a consistent way, we will be very difficult to beat. I know that for a fact, and I can see the progression of it.

"But without that, it doesn't matter what we do for 85 minutes, we will give many games away. That's the difference between top teams and teams that are not fighting for anything."

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