(Reuters) – Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta praised his players for holding off a late Watford comeback to grind out a 3-2 Premier League away win on Sunday – their fourth in a row – in a game of stylish goals from both sides.
“We are getting better and better, the understanding between the players is getting better, and we should have scored more today,” Arteta told BBC Sport after Watford struck late to make for a frantic final few minutes.
The Arsenal manager put the win partly down to his team’s renewed fighting spirit.
“I see how willing they are every day to train and improve. I think they are enjoying playing together and when some days it is not your best day, you somehow manage to win and that is important,” he said.
Moussa Sissoko threw Watford a lifeline with a goal in the 86th minute, and Arsenal keeper Aaron Ramsdale had to make two sharp saves in two minutes from 89th-minute substitute Samuel Kalu before the final whistle.
“Credit to Watford, they are fighting for their lives. They changed their team and it is hard to beat them,” Arteta said.
“We have to be very honest with ourselves and our defensive structure was not good enough today. We allowed some chances and it is something we will work on,” he added.
Arsenal’s bigger goal – a top-four finish and Champions League football next season – may now be within their grasp, particularly as they have games in hand over the teams around them near the top of the table.
“We are there now (fourth place), and we’ll go game by game,” Arteta said.
“Every game is a rollercoaster, we have three big games coming up in a week.”
The Gunners host Leicester City next Sunday and Liverpool three nights later, before visiting Aston Villa the following Saturday.