Unai Emery has heaped praise on defender David Luiz following Arsenal's 1-0 win over Bournemouth at the weekend, a result which takes his side into third place ahead of the international break. Remarkably, despite an abundance of criticism this season, the Gunners are now just one point behind Premier League holders Manchester City.
The Arsenal boss hailed the impact of summer signing Luiz after his first goal proved crucial in Sunday's narrow win, with a clean sheet putting the icing on the cake. Indeed, it was only the second time in 13 league games that Arsenal have stopped their opponents from scoring - a record that was helped by Callum Wilson squandering a glorious chance to level the scores in the second-half.
Emery hails David Luiz's dressing room impact after first goal for club
Arsenal started the game in bright fashion, creating several chances as they looked to end on a high ahead of the break. It was arguably the most unlikely of scorers who ended up breaking the deadlock in the ninth minute when Nicolas Pepe's corner was met by a glancing header from Luiz.
Reflecting on the centre-back's performance, Unai Emery was full of praise for the summer signing, commending him for his all round performance and impact as well as his goal.
When asked about whether Luiz was a popular figure in the dressing room, Emery said 'Yes, because he's very positive. Every time he's speaking about positive things and helping young players. He came late into the squad but really, his commitment is very high with us."
David Luiz was tipped as one of the favourites for the Arsenal captaincy after players were allowed to offer their votes to Emery before the manager made his decision. It would appear that although Granit Xhaka has since been named the skipper the former-Chelsea man retains a strong figure within the dressing room, acting as an experienced head amongst a young group of players.
Emery admits second half pressure after missed chances
For all their first-half dominance, Arsenal were almost made to pay for squandering a multitude of chances when Callum Wilson rounded Bernd Leno after the interval. While his eventual cut back was dealt with by Calum Chambers, the manager admitted that the pressure of going third did show for his side in the second forty-five.
"We knew if we won, we'd go third. For our confidence and airway, it was important, but not feeling the pressure of that. Maybe in the second half, we were winning 1-0, maybe in some moments felt that pressure."