Arteta praised Arsenal’s never-say-die spirit after they fought from behind twice to claim a dramatic 2-2 draw against Chelsea despite having David Luiz sent off in the first half.
David Luiz was shown a straight red card when he brought down Tammy Abraham following an under-hit back pass from Mustafi.
Meanwhile, Jorginho converted the resulting penalty. However, Gabriel Martinelli struck a breakaway equalizer midway through the second period. This before Cesar Azpilicueta’s close-range finish was canceled out by Hector Bellerin’s left-footed strike three minutes from time.
The full-back’s goal secured a draw that felt like a win for Arsenal who only had two shots on goal to Chelsea. Despite that, Arsenal showed impressive resilience and Arteta was delighted by their response to the early setback.
“I am proud.” He said
“The spirit they showed, the character, the fight and the leadership was there.”
“You have to stand up. When someone makes a mistake and someone has to take a red card, it can happen in football.”
“What cannot happen is that afterward, we don’t stand up for him. Every single player did it with belief as well.”
“I could sense at half-time that they believed they could get back in the game. I wasn’t expecting Hector to score with his left foot, obviously, but I’m very pleased.”
“We are playing with a lot of young kids and what they have shown tonight is going to be a great experience for them. To keep believing that in football, if you give everything, anything can happen.”
“I thought about subbing Martinelli.”
Arteta was as well full of praise for the 18-year-old Martinelli saying he thought about substituting him only to change to his mind. He scored for the second consecutive game having stepped in for the suspended Aubameyang.
“To play in this stadium, in the way he has done, with 10 men and play against Azpilicueta, who in my own opinion is one of the best defenders in the Premier, you need the courage to do that.”
“I wanted to take him off a few times because he looked knackered and he was cramping, but next minute he is sprinting 60 yards again.”
“It is not just him. I think Laca Lacazette is playing at a good level even if he is not scoring. Nicolas Pepe as well and everybody that is coming in.”
“They are fighting hard in training to try to convince us to play more. When they question some things, I tell them to speak on the pitch. And this is speaking on the pitch.”