Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta said their first victory over champion Manchester City in eight years on Sunday sends a message to his team that it must keep believing.
The Gunners had not enjoyed a league victory over City in 15 matches, having lost the previous 12 in a row before Sunday’s clash at the Emirates between last season’s title rivals.
After a closely fought match, substitute Gabriel Martinelli struck late on to secure a 1-0 win and send the Emirates into delirium as the Gunners moved level on 20 points with league leaders and fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
“It certainly sends a message to the team, that they keep believing in what they are doing,” Arteta said. “They are a fantastic group of players. Today I am proud.
“The players are all dancing and super happy. The mood is so happy. I just sense everybody will take the next game against Chelsea away (on Oct. 21) with the right emotion.
“A great feeling, you could sense, it has been so many years without beating them. We beat the best team in the world and in a great way. There were some moments we had to suffer.”
Arteta reserved special praise for Brazilian match-winner Martinelli, who has returned from injury, in the absence of England forward of Bukayo Saka, to make the difference.
“He (Martinelli) has been saying for a few weeks I’m going to be there against City even though everyone said it would be too soon,” Arteta said.
“Leo (Trossard) said after 30 minutes that he felt something in his hamstring and he (Martinelli) was ready with his kit straight on, straight away saying ‘boss, I am ready’.
“He’s a joy to have around because he can change a game with that mentality that he has.”
City slipped to their second successive league defeat for the first time since December 2018, but manager Pep Guardiola insisted the champions in five of the last six seasons could benefit from looking up at the competition for a change.
“Maybe it is a little bit better to be there (in third) and see what we have to do to catch them (league leaders) and then we will when we come back,” he told Sky Sports.
“It has happened. In Wolves it was a difficult game,” he added referring to City’s 2-1 defeat in their previous Premier League game at the end of September. “Congratulations to Arsenal. We know exactly what we have to do and we do it.”
Bukayo Saka to miss England internationals with hamstring injury
Arteta also confirmed that Saka will not be available for selection for England in the upcoming international break.
“No, he will not make it,” Arteta said. “He has not trained for a single session. He is not available to play football at the moment.”