Despite long-standing claims he does not like football, winning matters to Arsenal defender Ben White.

The 26-year-old England international carries a reputation as someone who sees his sport as a job and something he has no passion for.

White, though, insists that is not the case and just because he does not go home and watch every live football match he can get his eyes on should not suggest otherwise.

“I know people say I don’t like football, but I go home and football is not on my mind. I can just be a normal person, relax. When I’m in here (training) it is intense,” he said.

“It’s come from since I was young. I want to win everything that I do. My missus and I play a lot of games at home and I won’t be letting her win. We play bat and ball a lot, Uno, this magnet game. That’s sort of it.

“I remember being young and always wanting to win and play aggressive and do as much as I could to win.

And if he is losing to his wife at any of those games, it is simple: “Yeah, the ball gets lost!”

White has become a key component of Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side that, for a second year running, has Premier League title ambitions.

Arteta sees White as someone willing to go into battle for his team, something of a warrior, and White revealed he knows his duties ahead of every game is to win the one-on-one battle with the opposing winger.

“Before the game we have instructions of how they are going to do well in the game and what processes they have to be able to hurt us,” added former Brighton man White.

“(Against Newcastle) Anthony Gordon was one of them, my job was to stop him rolling inside so I had to get as tight as possible, otherwise foul him.

“He’s going inside if not. Every game, normally the winger is the best player so its always a challenge and I have to do my homework and try and stop him.

“I know I’m not going to stop everyone and I know I’m not the best one-v-one defender but I know I can do things to help the team in game situations against their winger.”

Arsenal ultimately ran out 4-1 winners against Newcastle on Saturday night, the latest in a string of impressive performances and eye-catching results for the Gunners.

“We haven’t got anything, so there is nothing to lose,” White replied when asked about Arsenal being the chasers in the title run-in against Liverpool and Manchester City.

“We are just going to go out there, do our best, and try and perform like we have the last few games.”

Arsenal are preparing to open contract negotiations with Jorginho following a string of standout performances, the PA news agency understands.

The 32-year-old Italy midfielder is out of contract at the end of the season.

Jorginho joined Arsenal from London rivals Chelsea last January and has so far made 41 appearances across all competitions, scoring once.

A Euro 2020 winner at Wembley, the former Napoli player has impressed Gunners boss Mikel Arteta with his professional approach and has added much-needed experience to a young squad at the Emirates Stadium.

It is understood that a one-year deal with the option of a further year is planned as an opening point for talks with Jorginho, who won the Champions League and Europa League during his five-year stint at Chelsea.

He put in a man-of-the-match display in Arsenal’s 4-1 win over Newcastle on Saturday and also shone in the recent 3-1 victory over Liverpool.

Declan Rice admits Arsenal need to find their Champions League “savvy” as Mikel Arteta’s young side continue to learn on the job.

The Gunners lost the first leg of their last 16 tie away to Porto on Wednesday night as Galeno’s brilliant last-gasp strike earned the hosts a 1-0 victory.

It extends Arsenal’s wretched record in Champions League knockout games – they still have not won outside of the group stages since 2010, having exited at the last-16 stage for seven consecutive years under Arsene Wenger.

Arteta secured a return to the top table of European football for the first time since 2017 but Arsenal’s hopes of progressing further suffered a blow at the Estadio do Dragao.

From their starting XI in Porto, only Kai Havertz had any previous experience of playing a Champions League knockout game and Rice conceded that lack of nous cost Arsenal late on.

“I think the last minute is probably a bit of inexperience,” he replied when asked if Arteta’s young team were on a steep learning curve.

“Just probably having a bit more savviness, in terms of it’s the 93rd minute, you look up at the clock, it’s 0-0, we gave a ball away on the edge of our box twice and then he bends one in the top bins.

“So we have got to have a bit of savviness to see out the game, because if you can’t win, definitely don’t lose – especially in a knockout game. But look, we are still positive. It is half-time in a two-leg tie and we will be ready for the next leg.

“You look at our team, we are such a young group. Some of us have not played in the Champions League before, so it is all about learning on the job.

“But we have to play better than we did tonight. They made it really tough, but in the second leg we will be ready to go and give it everything.

“I think it is good to have nerves – you get that experience and you need that to play in the biggest games. Whether there is nerves or no nerves, I think these are the type of games we need to learn from on the way and it is going to make us better overall.”

While the disappointment from the defeat will linger until the return leg at the Emirates Stadium on March 12, Rice knows Arsenal cannot suffer a Champions League hangover.

They are back in Premier League action as they host Newcastle on Saturday.

“Look, we have lost games this year and drawn games, and I have seen the changing room after and it’s been really bad when we have lost and drawn games,” added England international Rice.

“But here, we have just lost, but in there is a real positivity around the group at the minute, around the club.

“We have had such a good start to 2024, I think we take the positives from this game tonight, but also see where we can improve. It is going to be a big game in two weeks’ time and we will be ready for it.”

Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal’s Champions League history is irrelevant and challenged his side to prove they belong at the tournament’s business end as they prepare to face Porto in the last 16.

The Gunners are back in Europe’s elite club competition for the first time in seven years but have failed to progress past this stage since 2010.

Arsenal will be firm favourites at the Estadio do Dragao on Wednesday night as Arteta looks to go further in the Champions League than he ever managed as a player at the club.

“They (the players) know that we have not been in the competition for seven years,” the Spaniard said.

“Obviously some of them were here and they know the story and they know that what happened in the past is irrelevant, it is the challenge and ambition that we have now to go through.”

Asked if he felt it was a mental block that caused Arsene Wenger’s side to fall at the last-16 hurdle so many times, Arteta replied: “Someone called (Lionel) Messi was another obstacle as well!

“And Bayern Munich that we faced twice. This competition is what it is. Individual quality is extremely important. It comes down to details and you need your players at your best when the occasion arises.”

Arteta’s young squad had very little Champions League experience heading into a group stage they dominated, winning four games and progressing as winners with a fixture to spare.

Now the knockout stages present another chance for both manager and team to prove they belong at this level.

“We don’t have the experience, that’s the reality – 95 per cent of these players haven’t played this competition, they haven’t played the last 16.

“I haven’t (managed at this stage). But they have so much energy and enthusiasm to play well and that’s our desire and how we’re going to play the game.

“It’s great. We have earned the right to be here. It’s been seven years since we’ve been at the top table for these kind of matches and 14 years since we were able to go to the next stage.

“That’s the challenge. We know what is ahead of us, but we are very excited to face it and to go for it with full belief, that’s for sure.”

An extra incentive for Arsenal to banish past ghosts is the prospect of going all the way to just their second Champions League final, with Wembley playing host to the showpiece event this year.

“It should be incredible to have that feeling to lift that cup, in London, the first of June. It is there,” added Arteta.

“It is in our minds. It is a dream, but there are a lot of things you have to earn the right to do before that and tomorrow we have a big obstacle ahead of us. We are really looking forward to it.”

Mikel Arteta was delighted by his players’ unquenchable drive for more goals and wins after Arsenal racked up their fifth Premier League win in a row at relegation-threatened Burnley.

The north Londoners are in the middle of a tough title tussle and kept the pressure on both Liverpool and Manchester City by running amok at Turf Moor.

Martin Odegaard opening the scoring inside four minutes at embattled Burnley, where Bukayo Saka’s brace was complemented by Leandro Trossard and Kai Havertz efforts in a 5-0 win.

Saturday’s five-star performance followed on from last weekend’s 6-0 shellacking of West Ham, leaving boss Arteta delighted by his players’ hunger and drive for more.

“Really happy with the performance, with the result and the individual and collective contribution of each player as well,” the Arsenal boss said. “That was very, very good.

“And the fact that the team looked like it wanted more. It wasn’t satisfied.

“They wanted to score more, they didn’t want to concede a goal. I’m really pleased to hit that consistency.”

Asked if the domination has pleased him more than the goals recently, Arteta said: “Yeah. We want to dominate games and play in the opponent’s half as much as possible.

“I think the threat, the purpose, the activity and the connections of the players are flowing and they really want it.

“We have momentum now and we have to maintain it.

“Now we leave the Premier League, we go to Porto which will be a really tough environment, so just prepare to play well again and be ourselves.”

Arsenal head to Portugal for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday buoyed by yet another comprehensive victory on the road.

Arteta praised confident skipper Odegaard after Saturday’s triumph, so too Saka after the homegrown star scored in four straight top-flight games for the first time in his career.

Put to the Arsenal boss that the forward has the maturity of a senior player despite only being 22, he said: “Yes, we don’t really see it (in football).

“Especially forward players and wingers with that level of consistency and numbers.

“At his age it is something really strange to find but it is not a coincidence when you look at him every single day.

“The way he trains, the way he applies himself, the qualities that he has. And he can do more.”

The heavy loss means embattled Burnley still only have managed five points at Turf Moor this season, leaving them staring down the barrel of relegation.

Burnley assistant Craig Bellamy was in the dugout against Arsenal as Vincent Kompany served a touchline ban and the Clarets boss did not like what he saw from the stands.

“Just not good enough,” Kompany said. “Arsenal were better than us in every department today. It’s a tough one to take on the chin.

“You look back at probably the last 10 to 15 games and we were always able to draw on positives from the game.

“Today’s one you have to take on the chin and probably say less and make sure that you get the energy back in the team for the next game because that’s all we’ve got to focus on now.

“You do get days like this sometimes and when you do and where we are in the league, you get punished and the gap shows then.”

Burnley return to action at Crystal Palace next weekend, when midfielder Aaron Ramsey will surely be absent having left on a stretcher with a nasty-looking knee injury.

“It didn’t look good,” Kompany added. “I can only hope for it not to be as bad as it looked and for him to hopefully have a speedy recovery.”

Bukayo Saka struck twice as Arsenal romped to a 5-0 victory at lifeless Burnley and extended their winning run to a fifth successive Premier League match.

Mikel Arteta’s title-chasing Gunners kept the pressure on Liverpool and Manchester City by making light work of what was always expected to be a straightforward Saturday assignment.

Martin Odegaard lashed Arsenal into an early lead at Turf Moor and they never looked back, with Saka’s brace complemented by Leandro Trossard and Kai Havertz efforts as they battered Burnley 5-0.

This is the first time that the north Londoners have ever begun a calendar year with five league wins on the bounce and that outcome appeared to be on the cards within four minutes of kick-off.

Odegaard hammered Arsenal ahead and Saka scored from the spot just before the break, adding to his double in last week’s stunning 6-0 win at West Ham.

The forward completed another brace before Trossard and Havertz added gloss as suspended boss Vincent Kompany watched his hapless team crumble from the stands.

There were some boos at the final whistle and an air of resignation around Turf Moor before kick-off – little wonder given their five-point haul on home soil is the worst in the Premier League.

That feeling of Burnley pessimism only grew inside four minutes as Arsenal’s first attack brought the opening goal.

Gabriel Martinelli’s cross from the left deflected off Lorenz Assignon and reached Odegaard on the edge of the box.

The Arsenal skipper took a smart touch and continued to laser a left-footed strike beyond James Trafford into the bottom corner.

That goal increased the incline on what was already an uphill challenge for the lacklustre Clarets, who Craig Bellamy was leading from the touchline.

David Raya denied a Wilson Odobert threat on a rare Burnley attack, with quick, sharp build-up play making life hard for the stumbling hosts at the other end.

Arsenal continued to knock on the door and their second came from the spot in the 41st minute.

Havertz played a quick ball on to Trossard in the box, with the forward going down under a challenge from Assignon.

The defender’s appeals fell on deaf ears and Trafford guessed correctly, but Saka’s spot-kick was just out of the goalkeeper’s reach.

This is the first time in the England star’s career that he has scored in four consecutive Premier League games, and he added his second of the day in the 47th minute.

Slipped through by patient Odegaard, Saka smartly made space under pressure to hammer past Trafford at his near post.

A bad afternoon for Burnley got worse when midfielder Aaron Ramsey sustained a nasty-looking injury after challenging with Odegaard.

There was a lengthy break in play as he received treatment before being taken off on a stretcher.

Trossard was guilty of two poor misses when play resumed, but he would sweep home from close range in the 66th minute to spark a mass exit.

Substitute Eddie Nketiah headed wide before Havertz added a fifth in the 78th minute as Burnley continued to flounder.

Jakub Kiwior’s throw-in caught out the hosts’ defence and put Havertz behind, with the summer signing cutting through Hannes Delcroix’s legs before scoring.

Substitute Jacob Bruun Larsen and Josh Brownhill tried to score a consolation between Odegaard seeing a free-kick saved as 10 minutes of second-half stoppage time came and went without another goal.

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson’s love of the game will see him determined to return to the dugout as soon as he is well enough, according to Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.

Hodgson fell ill during training on Thursday and was taken to hospital for further tests, with his condition later being described as “stable” by the Premier League club.

The 76-year-old had been set to speak at a scheduled press conference at 1.30pm on Thursday ahead of the upcoming match at Everton on Monday night, but members of the media waiting outside Palace’s training ground in New Beckenham were informed the briefing would not take place.

According to reports, Palace are set to sack Hodgson, with former Eintracht Frankfurt boss Oliver Glasner a strong favourite to take the job.

Arsenal beat Palace 5-0 at the Emirates Stadium on January 20, which was the start of a four-game winning streak as they look to keep up the pace in the title race.

Arteta wished former England boss Hodgson a swift recovery, and understands what the pressures of the job can bring at both ends of the table.

“Hopefully, he’s feeling much better and if that’s the case, knowing Roy, I think he will be in tomorrow because he loves it so much,” the Arsenal manager said at a press conference ahead of Saturday’s trip to Burnley.

“But yeah, we all got really worried with the situation and hopefully he is fine.”

On the stresses managers work under, Arteta added: “There is that part, but there is the part of joy and how beautiful our jobs are as well.

“A lot of times (pressure) is in relation to where you are, but it is part of the job.”

Friday was understood to be a scheduled rest day for the Palace squad ahead of the trip to Merseyside.

Ray Lewington and fellow assistant Paddy McCarthy are expected to take charge for the Everton game should Hodgson need any extra time off following his spell in hospital.

Palace sit 15th in the table, five points above the relegation zone, heading into the weekend’s Premier League fixtures games.

Hodgson took charge of his 200th match as Eagles manager on Monday when his side were beaten 3-1 at Selhurst Park by Chelsea.

The veteran former England boss is in his second spell in charge of the south London club, having returned for the final 10 games of last season when he signed a short-term deal to take over from the sacked Patrick Vieira.

Hodgson guided the club to an 11th-placed finish before agreeing to continue as manager for the 2023-24 campaign.

Palace have won just six of 24 league fixtures this term, with only three of those victories coming since a 1-0 success at Manchester United in September.

Disgruntled fans have displayed banners in recent weeks calling for Hodgson to be sacked and vented frustration with how the club is being run.

Austrian Glasner guided Frankfurt to Europa League glory in 2022 following a penalty shoot-out victory over Rangers in Seville.

The 49-year-old, who has also managed Wolfsburg, has been out of work since leaving the Bundesliga side last summer.

Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal should be in the running to sign Kylian Mbappe from Paris St Germain this summer .

The France forward, who has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid, announced on Thursday that he will leave the Ligue 1 champions when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Arteta feels that signing Mbappe would match Arsenal’s ambitions of becoming the “best team”.

When asked if Arsenal should be interested in the 25-year-old, Arteta said: “Absolutely. Why not? If we want to be the best team then we are going to need the best talent and the best players for sure.

“When there is a player of that calibre then we always need to be in the conversation but it looks like (his future) is in a different way.”

Arteta says Arsenal are heading into the most important part of the season ahead of their Premier League clash with Burnley.

The title-chasing Gunners currently sit third, two points behind leaders Liverpool, after extending their impressive run to four straight league wins following a dominant 6-0 victory at West Ham.

Arteta highlighted the importance of claiming three points at Turf Moor and to keep up their consistent form during the final 14 league matches.

“It’s the most important part of the season and every fixture will play a significant role in what we want to achieve,” Arteta said.

“Burnley at the moment are a team which are extremely difficult to beat if you look at the results and how teams have drawn or beaten them by small margins.

“They are extremely well coached and are a team that are very competitive, so we know that we have a very tough match on Saturday and we need to play with the same energy and enthusiasm.

“We want to be there (title race) and it means we have done a lot right during the season.

“We have shown a big level of consistency in the team, we want to take a step forward and maintain the consistency.”

Burnley, who sit seven points from safety, have struggled in their first season back in the Premier League.

Arteta showed his admiration for Clarets manager Vincent Kompany, lauding his “special aura” ahead of Saturday’s clash.

The Arsenal manager coached the former Manchester City captain when he was Pep Guardiola’s assistant at the Etihad Stadium between 2016 and 2019.

“We know each other really well and I have huge respect for him, we had a really good relationship when we worked together,” Arteta added.

“I have a huge admiration for him when he was a player and he has a special aura around him. He has great ideas and a vision of how to play the game.

“What they did in the Championship last season (winning the league by 10 points) was phenomenal in a record season. To do that you need to be exceptional (as a coach).

“He has courage and his work ethic is phenomenal.”

Mikel Arteta says Arsenal are heading into the most important part of the season ahead of their Premier League clash with Burnley.

The title-chasing Gunners currently sit third, two points behind leaders Liverpool, after extending their impressive run to four straight league wins following a dominant 6-0 victory at West Ham.

Arteta highlighted the importance of claiming three points at Turf Moor and to keep up their consistent form during the final 14 league matches.

“It’s the most important part of the season and every fixture will play a significant role in what we want to achieve,” Arteta said.

“Burnley at the moment are a team which are extremely difficult to beat if you look at the results and how teams have drawn or beaten them by small margins.

“They are extremely well coached and are a team that are very competitive, so we know that we have a very tough match on Saturday and we need to play with the same energy and enthusiasm.

“We want to be there (title race) and it means we have done a lot right during the season.

“We have shown a big level of consistency in the team, we want to take a step forward and maintain the consistency.”

Burnley, who sit seven points from safety, have struggled in their first season back in the Premier League.

Arteta showed his admiration for Clarets manager Vincent Kompany, lauding his “special aura” ahead of Saturday’s clash.

The Arsenal manager coached the former Manchester City captain when he was Pep Guardiola’s assistant at the Etihad Stadium between 2016 and 2019.

“We know each other really well and I have huge respect for him, we had a really good relationship when we worked together,” Arteta added.

“I have a huge admiration for him when he was a player and he has a special aura around him. He has great ideas and a vision of how to play the game.

“What they did in the Championship last season (winning the league by 10 points) was phenomenal in a record season. To do that you need to be exceptional (as a coach).

“He has courage and his work ethic is phenomenal.”

Kai Havertz struggled in the early parts of the season after his £65million move from Chelsea but the Germany international has since adapted to life in north London.

Arteta said he “loves” the 24-year-old and it is a joy to have him in the squad.

“I love him,” he said. “We all love him as a player, as a person and what he brings to the team.

“He tracks people, defends the box and gets in the position where he constantly threatens the opponents’ box and that is something I really like.

“He is a joy to work with.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes a proposal to introduce blue cards and sin-bins to football does not “sound like a fantastic idea” initially.

The PA news agency understands that blue cards will be shown to players sin-binned in new trials to try and improve participant behaviour.

It is understood that the initial trial phase will not feature top-level competitions to avoid players being in events with different rules concurrently.

PA understands that plans to publish details of these trials have been delayed until next month, but Klopp believes a blue card could present “more opportunities to fail”.

He told a press conference: “I think everything what the actual situation shows is we should keep it as simple as somehow possible, for the referees as well.

“It’s a difficult job, often quite emotional when we speak about it more so because it’s after the game, and I think the introduction of a blue card would just give more opportunities to fail as well because the discussion will be: ‘It was a blue card, should it have been a yellow card, now it’s 10 minutes off, in the good old times it would have been a red card or only a yellow’.

“These kind of things just make it more complicated. If they want to test it I have no problem with testing if that’s the first step to agreeing or it already being sure it will happen – I don’t know that.

“It doesn’t sound like a fantastic idea in the first moment but actually I can’t remember the last fantastic idea (which) came from these guys, if they ever had one. I am 56 and, pah, never.”

Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou also remained unconvinced by the proposals, adding his “biggest issue” in football is VAR.

“I don’t think people will be surprised by my thoughts on it. I struggle to understand this urgency all of a sudden to bring in new things,” he said.

“I don’t know if there’s that much wrong with the game as I see it. My biggest issue with the game right now is that VAR has changed the experience, whether you’re a player, a manager or a supporter or whatever you are I think it’s changed the experience of football.

“I assume that’s a means to an end, that the introduction of technology is going to get us to a better place. I remain to be convinced about that.

“Beyond that, I don’t know why a different colour card is going to make any difference. I struggle with this whole taking from other sports.”

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta hopes that the proposals would be “tested very well” if introduced.

“I don’t know when we’re going to get there,” he said.

“I think we’ve got a lot going on with decisions, with technology, with what is coming. I don’t know if we are ready for that yet.

“Who knows (if it is a good idea). Hopefully it’s going to be tested very well before they introduce it at this level.”

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe admitted he was “not a big fan” of the new proposals.

He said: “I’m not a big fan, to be honest. I think that’s what yellow cards are for. I think the current system works well, it’s just got to be applied right.

“I think adding a blue card would just add more confusion, in my opinion, so I’m against it.

“I think (sin-bins) would change it a lot, but again not, for me, in a good way because I think it will make it very bitty, more stop-start.

“I fear for the players who would have to go off for 10 minutes and then re-find the rhythm of a Premier League game after 10 minutes out, I’m just not sure it works, personally.”

Wolves boss Gary O’Neil believes blue cards could “damage” the stadium experience.

“I haven’t looked into it too much, it would damage the in-stadium experience, it would change the game drastically, to have to spend 10 minutes down to 10 men,” he said.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta revealed he has taken “a lot of things” from Jurgen Klopp’s reign at Liverpool but admits the next step has to be emulating his trophy success.

Klopp and Arteta will come head to head at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday with the table-topping visitors able to move eight points clear of their hosts with a win.

The German has already announced he will leave Liverpool at the end of the season having taken over in 2015.

During that time he has guided the Reds to a Premier League title, Champions League glory and both the FA Cup and League Cup.

Arsenal sat top of the table for 248 days last season before being usurped by Manchester City but realistically they need to beat Liverpool on Sunday to maintain a chance of pipping both clubs to the trophy this season.

As he prepares for what could be their final meeting in the dugout, Arteta – who has form for rowing with Klopp on the touchline – explained what he has taken from his success in England.

“A lot of things. Especially the identity that his team has, the identity that the club has,” he said.

“It is very clear. He is someone who is so determined to make sure that stamp is put in across the club.

“The team has very clear intentions and behaviours, regardless of where (each player) plays. I love that about what he has done at Liverpool.”

Arteta also believes the next step for the team he is building at Arsenal is to win major trophies on a regular basis – like Klopp’s Liverpool – having already achieved his first aims in north London.

“The first intention was to make our people proud. Proud of the club, proud of the team and how we represent our club – and to be with our ambitions, and enjoy,” added the Spaniard.

“I think we have given them these two things in the last few years, probably more than was expected.

“But the demands are bigger – and have to be bigger. Now that has to be to win big trophies – and win major trophies consistently and be at the very top.

“In order to do that, everyone has to have the same intention. It just doesn’t happen if you don’t demand of each other in this way.

“That’s the next step. Liverpool have done it, we haven’t.”

Gabriel Jesus has vowed to make scoring goals his priority after inspiring Arsenal to a 2-1 win at Nottingham Forest.

The Brazil forward, who shook off a knee injury to play in the game, opened the scoring in the 65th minute and then laid on a second for Bukayo Saka seven minutes later.

Jesus has had questions asked of him after scoring 19 goals in 56 games in all competitions since his £45million move from Manchester City in summer 2022, but he has been a creative force, registering 12 assists in that time.

The 26-year-old, who has scored 73 Premier League goals in total, now wants to concentrate on adding to that tally.

“Sometimes it is all about stats and sometimes it is all about watching the game,” he said. “Let’s go, come on.

“If you watch the game, you see me playing… I am close to 100 in the Premier League – that’s not easy.

“Then in the Champions League I am scoring a lot, in the national team I score. Sometimes, like I say, I am not focused on that (scoring goals) and that’s I think my mistake.

“So now, I think I change my mindset and I will be in the box more – and I try everything to score.”

Jesus is also working on keeping positive after missing chances – something he did at the City Ground as he scored moments after hitting the post.

 

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“Also I am changing my mindset, I think I am more focused on the game now,” he said. “Before, when I miss one or two chances (I may have got disheartened)… I think that was not the case today.

“I think I created and my team gave me the ball – it was amazing – and I hit the post. I think it was more unlucky than a miss, but I keep trying.

“A minute after, I create another one and I miss the time to shoot, but I keep working, I keep trying, I keep focused on the game.

“I try to find another way to score and it worked. Sometimes it is all about this. Keep trying and then it works.”

Jesus earned the praise of boss Mikel Arteta for his desire to play in the game despite a knee problem.

“Gabi started to win the game two days ago,” the Spaniard said. “He had an issue with his knee and everyone was trying to protect him and saying don’t go outside.

“But he was saying (matchday) -2, (matchday) -1, I want to be there I want to help the team to win the game. When you have that mentality, good things are going to happen. I’m really pleased with him.

“He got hit big time in the last game. His knee reacted and it’s the knee he had (surgery on) before. He was super positive, he’s feeling good and he was so sharp in training. I’m not surprised with the way he played.”

Forest grabbed a late consolation through Taiwo Awoniyi on his first appearance since November following groin surgery, the Nigeria striker having been introduced as a half-time replacement for the injured Chris Wood.

“His hamstring felt very tight,” head coach Nuno Espirito Santo said of the New Zealand international. “There was a big risk of injury. He was not feeling OK to continue, so that’s why we made the change.”

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta “loved” seeing Ben White and Oleksandr Zinchenko clash with each other at the end of his side’s 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest.

The Gunners were cruising to an easy three points at the City Ground after second-half goals from Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka but endured a nervy ending when Taiwo Awoniyi capitalised on a defensive mistake to give Forest a lifeline.

They saw out the victory which closed the gap on Premier League leaders Liverpool, but celebrations were cut short when White and Zinchenko had to be separated after arguing over the goal they conceded.

Arteta said: “I love it, they demand more from each other and they are not happy with the way they concede that and they are trying to resolve it.

“It was a bit heated, but that means it is not enough playing the way we played, the result has to be bigger.

“That’s pushing each other and being not happy conceding and I have to encourage that and promote it in the right way and a respectful way.

“Sometimes after the game it’s emotional and heated, but I love that the players are pushing each other and demanding excellence.”

The victory saw the Gunners exorcise the ghosts of last season when May’s 1-0 defeat at the City Ground saw their title challenge come to an end.

And Arteta was pleased to see his side put that right.

“I could feel it, they were talking about it coming to that dressing room,” he said. “It really reminds you, our brains and bodies are really intelligent and coming to the same situation they know what happened and they were really active and engaged and they were talking about the game with each other.

“I thought it was really good.

“I am really happy with the performance and the result. We saw what happened last year and we wanted to put it right, we wanted to generate some momentum in the league and I thought we did that.

“The performance was very good, we completely dominated the game. We had to be patient but we always had an eye to the opponent, we didn’t allow them to run.”

Awoniyi’s goal raised Forest’s hopes of snatching a draw, which would have been a steal considering they made no real attempt to win the match, with Nuno Espirito Santo’s pragmatic approach.

Defeat leaves them hovering precariously above the relegation zone, with the threat of a possible points deduction for breaching Premier League financial rules.

Boss Nuno said: “First half, we defended well. We were organised, compact and didn’t allow too many situations.

“Arsenal are a very good team in possession of the ball. We had to be patient and cover the right spaces in the wide areas.

“We were missing more possession of the ball. We should have had more possession; that was a negative. We were better in that aspect in the second half.

“We started the second half well and had good spells of possession. It was disappointing the way we conceded both goals.

“It was avoidable. We can avoid those situations.

“After we scored, there was a feeling we could have got something. We had a good 10-minute spell. But to sum up, we should have played better.”

Arsenal overcame a sluggish first-half performance to cut the gap on Premier League leaders Liverpool to two points after a 2-1 win at Nottingham Forest.

The Gunners looked toothless in the first half, but rallied to register three big points thanks to goals from Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka.

The result leaves them on the coattails of Liverpool, who can extend their lead back to five points against Chelsea on Wednesday night.

Forest had no intention of going for the win in a pragmatic approach deployed by Nuno Espirito Santo, but they made a game of it late on as Taiwo Awoniyi slammed home in the 89th minute.

Arsenal saw it out to end a three-game losing streak at the City Ground and exorcise the ghosts of last season’s defeat, which saw their title challenge come to an end.

Forest’s situation at the foot of the Premier League is looking precarious, as they sit two points above the relegation zone with the threat of a points deduction for breaking financial rules hanging over them.

It is not in Nuno’s make-up to play an expansive game and his plan was to put men behind the ball and ask Arsenal the question of whether they could break them down.

The first half provided an answer of a resounding no, as for all their possession and territorial advantage the Gunners lacked a cutting edge to trouble Forest.

They had seven shots on target but none of them tested their former team-mate Matt Turner in the Forest goal, with Saka’s snapshot which deflected off Murillo and just wide the nearest they came to breaking the deadlock in the opening 45 minutes.

Forest offered next to nothing as an attacking force, registering just one pass in the final third in the opening half-hour, with Danilo’s drive over the crossbar from distance their only real foray forward.

The Gunners began to turn the screw after the second half and put Forest’s goal under serious threat for the first time.

Turner was forced into his first save when he palmed away Saka’s deflected effort with a strong hand before their best moment came four minutes later.

An intricate move involving Saka and Martin Odegaard led to Jesus being played in but he smashed his effort from a narrow angle into a post.

Eventually Arsenal’s pressure told as they took the lead in the 65th minute, though Turner will not want to see it again.

Forest switched off from Zinchenko’s throw-in and Jesus burst to the byline where his toe-poked shot went through Turner’s legs and into the back of the net.

Turner has come under scrutiny in recent weeks after a number of high-profile mistakes, but has been backed by Nuno, himself a former goalkeeper, though this may change things.

It was 2-0 seven minutes later after a breakaway goal. Gonzalo Montiel fluffed a clearance on the halfway line, skewing straight to Odegaard, who set Jesus free and he picked out Saka at the far post, with the England international making no mistake.

Forest had rarely threatened but Awoniyi, making his first appearance since November, converted after William Saliba’s mistake late on, though they could find a leveller.

What the papers say

A game of managerial musical chairs is underway as big vacancies open up at the end of the season. Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta is on Barcelona’s three-man shortlist to replace Xavi, according to The Sun via Spanish reporter Gerard Romero, alongside departing Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Germany boss Julian Nagelsman.

Liverpool defender Nat Phillips is attracting attention from Championship clubs. Cardiff, Blackburn and Leeds are all interested in the 26-year-old, according to the Daily Mail.

West Ham are still hopeful of securing a January deal with FC Nordsjaelland for Ghanaian winger Ibrahim Osman, according to The Sun. The Hammers have had one £15million bid rejected by the Danish club.

Bruno Guimares’ stay at Newcastle could be entering its final few months. The Daily Mirror reports Paris St. Germain are confident of signing the Brazil midfielder, 26.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Jean-Philippe Mateta: Bayern Leverkusen are weighing up a move for Crystal Palace’s French striker, 26, according to The Sun.

Daiki Hashioka: Luton are discussing a deal for the Japan full-back, 24, with Belgian club Sint-Truiden, reports The Daily Telegraph.

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