Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta delivered fulsome praise of goalscoring winger Nicolas Pepe, and pinpointed what aspect of his side’s performance showed “intelligence and resilience.”
Arsenal maintained their recent stellar league form with a 3-1 win over Southampton that boosted them up to eighth in the table.
Nicolas Pepe cancelled out Stuart Armstrong’s opener, but it was Bukayo Saka that stole the show.
The youngster scored and assisted Alexandre Lacazette’s close-range tap-in to help secure a vital three points.
Speaking to the BBC after the match, Arteta said: “I think we were good from the start. We conceded a goal from a corner but responded straight away. We were good on the ball. We got out of trouble and made some big chances. Our pressing was brilliant. We were good in the break. It was a strong performance.”
“It is tough to win here. They are strong and have been in form. It showed a lot of intelligence and resilience from the team in the way they managed the game.
“We still have a lot to do. We have to improve, be humble and train good for the next game.”
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On his side’s first scorer – Pepe – the Spaniard said: “He was really good again. He created big moments. He deserved his chance today and he took it.”
Saka’s display once again showed why he is one of world football’s most promising teenagers.
“He has been very consistent,” Arteta noted of his rising star. “He has played in different positions and adapted. He is assisting players. It was another strong performance today.”
“We exploited their weaknesses” – Saka
Man of the match Saka also spoke to the press, telling BT Sport: “It was much better than Saturday. Saturday wad disappointing. We are the holders and we took it hard. We exploited their weaknesses and got the win we deserved.
“I said to him (Lacazette) about the opportunity, saying I would run in behind. We got as goal so I am happy. I am not just happy with Laca, though, I am happy with everyone.
“I am happy to be playing for Arsenal. I have the passion on the pitch and the boss gives me the freedom.
“Game after game, we take it. We have to do that. The Premier League is changing rapidly this season. You have to focus on each and try to win.”