Mikel Arteta reveals Arsenal star overcame illness to produce big performance against Tottenham

Tottenham 2-3 Arsenal

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has revealed that Kai Havertz battled through illness to produce a Man of the Match performance in the highly anticipated North London derby against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

The German midfielder not only scored a pivotal goal but also set up another, solidifying Arsenal’s triumph over their rivals and maintaining their position at the top of the Premier League table.

Despite not being at his physical peak due to illness, Havertz’s performance was nothing short of exceptional, earning him the title of man of the match. Arteta commended Havertz for his outstanding contribution, emphasising the midfielder’s unwavering determination to deliver despite his health struggles.

“He was sensational in every department today,” Arteta remarked. “He wasn’t at 100 per cent. He was ill before the match, he was a bit struggling and still he put the performance that he put in. I thought he was unbelievable today.”

Havertz’s goal, which came before halftime, propelled Arsenal to a commanding 3-0 lead. However, a momentary lapse in concentration from goalkeeper David Raya allowed Spurs to claw their way back into the game, ultimately resulting in a nerve-wracking 3-2 victory for Arsenal.

Despite the late drama, Arteta remained positive, acknowledging the emotional rollercoaster of the match and the challenges faced by his team.

“It’s part of football,” he said. “I don’t like the sequence of play, I don’t like the principles that we apply in that moment and the orientation of the ball. After that it can happen. You misjudge the situation, you try to make the pass and you don’t and then you are in the doubt zone and they scored and took advantage of that.

“Then with the penalty it’s another principle which you cannot do. It’s part of football. What I love is that David does that, he picks his hands up, which are quite heavy, and he was sensational for the last 20 or 25 minutes of the game. This is what I love about our players.”

Arteta added: “It was a really emotional game. A very tough place to come, an incredible atmosphere and a great team to play against.”

The match saw Arsenal dominate proceedings, only to be tested by individual errors and a spirited resurgence from Tottenham. Arteta highlighted the importance of maintaining composure in such high-pressure situations, expressing his pride in the team’s ability to bounce back and secure the win.


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