Mikel Arteta thinks his Arsenal players put in a “really mature” performance as they beat PSV to qualify for the knockout stages of the Europa League.
The Gunners have been nothing short of sensational at the start of this campaign and their win over PSV on Thursday night was their eighth in a row across all competitions.
Before this clash, Arsenal had won their first three group games in the Europa League but PSV are comfortably their most difficult opponent.
The Dutch side have scored goals for fun this season but Arsenal defended well as they kept a clean sheet.
Granit Xhaka netted the winner with around 20 minutes to go as he swept the ball home after being played in by Takehiro Tomiyasu.
The centre-midfielder is playing a more advanced role this campaign and this has led to him being involved in more goals. So far this term, he has grabbed three goals and three assists in 14 outings.
Bukayo Saka suffered a knock late on and he was subbed off by Arteta with around five minutes remaining.
The Gunners boss thinks the Englishman “will be okay” and he has also praised Xhaka.
“We had really good moments where we dominated against a really good side,” Arteta told BT Sport.
“We lacked that final pass or shot but we’re happy to win the game and we are qualified which is the first step.
“The difference between finishing first and second is big and we want to get the job done [next week].
“In Europe, you have to control the opponent. They are very talented, used to winning and the amount of goals they have scored is incredible – we were really mature.”
On Xhaka’s goal: “It was a great goal with the right foot, a half volley, he is getting in these positions every game that’s why he is scoring the goals.”
On Saka: “I think he will be OK.”
Xhaka insisted after Arsenal’s win that their recent success is “not a surprise”.
“We had chance after chance and we didn’t have the luck to score earlier but we had the passion to keep the ball, keep creating the chances and I think we deserved the win,” Xhaka continued.
“In the first half we did a lot of pressure, Everyone who comes here is playing similar to PSV, we knew they had the quality to kill us on the counter-attack but we did amazing.
“I’m so happy to score. I don’t know when I scored for the last time with the right foot but so happy. It doesn’t matter which foot, or who scores.
“It gives us confidence and on to the next one. When you win games you have to be happy. Everything is going well at the moment but for us, it is not a surprise, we’re doing a lot of work.
“We win and lose as a team and at the moment we are very dangerous. We wanted to go through and are very happy.”
If Arsenal avoid defeat against PSV next week, the English side will secure top spot in Group A and they will subsequently earn a bye for the round of 32.
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