Mikel Arteta praises Gabriel Jesus for "lifting standards" after Leicester win
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 13: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta shouts instructions to his team from the technical area during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Leicester City at Emirates Stadium on August 13, 2022 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta was in good spirits following his side's 4-2 victory over Leicester City in the Premier League, lauding the efforts of the both the team as a whole and individuals within it - as well as giving a special mention to the fans.

Arsenal had begun their season with a 2-0 win against Crystal Palace on the opening night, and they were up by the same margin within 35 minutes at the Emirates Stadium thanks to a brace from Gabriel Jesus.

Brendan Rodgers' team twice brought the deficit back to just one goal, first after a William Saliba own goal, and then thanks to a finish from James Maddison, but the Gunners hit back both times to maintain the two goal advantage.

Granit Xhaka got his first goal of the campaign, while Gabriel Martinelli capped off a six-goal thriller in North London with a fine finish from range, securing three points for the home side.

On Gabriel Jesus

After opening his Premier League account for the Gunners, Gabriel Jesus was the obvious candidate for player of the match in this one, with his manager heaping praise on the Brazilian post-match.

"I wouldn't like to play against him! I have never been a defender but I can imagine that they don't enjoy it. He's so mobile, so intuitive and is always sharp and proactive to play in any moment and any phase of the game and he's a real threat."

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While the striker may have got on the scoresheet twice, as well as picking up two assists, his frustration at spurring some chances portrayed an attitude that "you need," according to Arteta, "if you want to go to a different level."

"He's [Jesus] still disappointed in the dressing room because he said he could have scored four. That's the standard, that's the mentality [...]. I think it lifts the standards with the way he's training every day and the way that he's talking and the way that they are connecting."

On the performance

The Spanish manager also spoke more generally at how pleased he was with the game itself, proclaiming: "I am really happy. I think it was a big performance. I think it was a really good football match from both sides."

It is a result which puts Arsenal joint top of the table, and with no fixtures against any of the so-called 'Big Six' scheduled until the first weekend of September, there is the potential for the club to go unbeaten in the first month of the season.

Such a feat does not seem impossible, thanks to the dramatic improvement in confidence amongst the squad, something Arteta described as "a different level now."

"You can see the interaction and the speed of execution [in the final third]. Within that structure, within that shape and within that unit you have the freedom to decide and occupy any space, and they [the players] know that and we work on that every day."

On the fans

One of the most significant moments of the game came after Arsenal's lead was halved early on in the second half, following an unfortunate goal from William Saliba.

It is perhaps possible that just a few months ago the home crowd would have reacted with frustration, potentially even anger, with the atmosphere surrounding the club far more toxic at the time.

Yet, despite being at fault, Saliba heard rapturous support instead, signifying the optimistic mindsets among fans, which Arteta claimed is "something in my career I haven't seen."

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He went on to say: "That shows the connection and to really be there when it matters and when it's difficult for somebody. We should be really proud to play in front of them [the fans] because that was special."

"I think it really lifted the confidence of Wilo [Saliba] and how he played in those last minutes after that and for the team as well."

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