Football

Mikel Arteta hopes fightback proves to be ‘stepping stone’ for Arsenal

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta hopes the resilience his side showed in their 2-2 draw with Chelsea yesterday morning (Singapore time) proves a "stepping stone" to a brighter future for the Gunners.

Arteta's men, who came from behind twice while a man down to hold the Blues at Stamford Bridge, remain 10th in the English Premier League, 10 points behind Chelsea in fourth.

While a point may prove too little for their hopes of a Champions League return, the manner in which it was achieved gave their new manager cause for optimism.

"Time will tell if this is a stepping stone, but at least I saw a reaction," said Arteta.

"I demand from the players that they never give up.

"We have to keep playing with the spirit we showed in every game. I'm proud of the way they reacted."

David Luiz endured a nightmare evening on his return to Stamford Bridge as the Brazilian was sent off after 26 minutes for hauling down Tammy Abraham. Jorginho converted the resulting penalty.

Gabriel Martinelli equalised with a superb solo goal on 63 minutes before Cesar Azpilicueta restored the Blues' lead with six minutes left.

It was not enough for all three points as Hector Bellerin equalised in the 87th minute.

The draw means fifth-placed Manchester United can cut the lead to fourth-placed Chelsea to three points if they beat Burnley this morning.

Said Chelsea manager Frank Lampard: "We're in fourth position, but I know and we know there should be another 10 points on the board.

"We shouldn't dwell too much on results that have gone, but a lot of them look the same.

"The initiative is on us to be ruthless, to take the chances when they came along." - AFP

Football