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Winning run gives Gunners a lift ahead of derby

Form brings ‘belief’ going into Spurs clash at the Emirates

24 September, 2021 — By Steve Barnett

Mikel Arteta: ‘The boys have won three matches in a row so now they are really looking forward to playing on Sunday, which is the biggest day of the season for us so far at home’

MOMENTUM is very much in Arsenal’s favour as they prepare for their “biggest day of the season” on Sunday against Tottenham.

Like most fixtures, Wednesday night’s 3-0 victory over AFC Wimbledon in the third round of the Carabao Cup pales into insignificance when compared to the north London derby.

But when it comes to breeding confidence, Mikel Arteta believes that beating the League One side was critical as it allowed the Gunners to build on back-to-back Premier League wins over Burnley and Norwich City.

“Winning is really important because confidence raises competition and brings the best out of you,” said the Arsenal boss. “The boys have won three matches in a row so now they are really looking forward to playing on Sunday, which is the biggest day of the season for us so far at home.

“Winning football matches is what brings that connection and belief, and makes fans happier.”

Win or lose this season, Arteta has made a point of praising the fans. And he is calling on them to ramp up the raucousness against Spurs this weekend at the Emirates.

He added: “To have 50,000 fans in the Carabao Cup on a Wednesday night is pretty special and it doesn’t happen in many places. The players notice that and obviously that raises the level of demands.

“The fans made the night more special.

“They are here to support the team and they want to see the team winning. It is a natural thing.

“They have always been with the team and now they are at a different level, and we need them at an even higher level on Sunday because we’re going to need them, and hopefully we can enjoy a beautiful day together.”

Meanwhile, looking back at the win over Wimbledon, some Arsenal fans might have been surprised that there was no place in the Gunners’ squad for Charlie Patino.

The 17-year-old midfielder has been described as Arsenal’s best academy prospect for a generation.

Arteta admits he was close to handing Patino his first-team debut, hinting that it won’t be much longer before supporters get to see him in the Premier League.

“He was very close [to being in the squad], but we decided as well that some players needed minutes and it will happen naturally in time.

“Charlie has been good, he’s trained more and more with us and played a practice game at Colney and he was really good. Again, give him time and we will prepare him.”

Patino is expected to be in action tomorrow (Saturday) when Arsenal’s Under-23s travel to Manchester City

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