Arteta proud of Arsenal spirit after earning point against Chelsea
PUBLISHED: 10:25 22 January 2020 | UPDATED: 10:25 22 January 2020
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Mikel Arteta was bursting with pride after his 10-man Arsenal side came from behind twice to draw 2-2 with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night, praising the character and spirit that saw them earn a point.
David Luiz - on his return to Stamford Bridge - was sent off with 26 minutes played after bringing down Tammy Abraham inside the area following Shkodran Mustafi's horrendous backpass.
Jorginho scored the penalty, but the 10-men came back as Gabriel Martinelli scored a superb solo goal on 63 minutes with the Gunners' first shot of the game.
It looked like a defensive switch off may cost them though as they fell asleep at short corner to allow Cesar Azpilicueta to ghost in and score with 84 minutes on the clock.
But, with three minutes to play Hector Bellerin curled home a shot from the edge of the box to earn Arsenal a point after a gritty display at the Bridge.
Arteta was keen to praise his side's battling performance, saying: "I am proud.
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"The spirit they showed, the character, the fight and the leadership was there as well.
"You have to really stand up. When someone makes a mistake, it can happen in football, so someone has to take a red card for him. It can happen.
"What cannot happen is that afterwards we don't stand up for him. Every single player did it with belief as well. I could sense it at half-time that they believed they could get back in the game.
"I wasn't expecting Hector to score with his left foot obviously, but I'm very pleased."
Arteta can certainly take some credit for Arsenal's turnaround after deciding not to bring on Rob Holding following Luiz's red card, with the Spaniard believing the introduction of another defender would send a negative message to his side.
"I was thinking about that and I said, 'I don't want to send that message to the team'," he said.
"We decided to keep it as we were and give them a chance. I wanted to see how they could respond to that.
"I didn't want to make the response for them because I want them to be accountable for what they do and I didn't want to make a decision so they wouldn't decide for themselves. It's a great response from them."