Arteta hails Arsenal ‘brotherhood’ in defensive masterclass at Anfield

Arsenal kept out a Liverpool side missing Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane in attack despite an early red card to Granit Xhaka

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has showered praise on his players for keeping a clean sheet in Thursday’s goalless draw with Liverpool in the first leg of their EFL Cup semifinal.

The Gunners went one man down as early as the 24th minute when Granit Xhaka was sent off for a high-footed challenge on Diogo Jota.

Moment of madness: Liverpool’s Diogo Jota is being fouled by Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka who subsequently receives a red card AFP

Arteta proud of Arsenal display in ‘extremely difficult’ Anfield

Arteta hailed his players’ defensive performance, stressing that they were happy even whilst they suffered during the game.

“I’m really proud of what we did today in an extremely difficult stadium, against a great opponent and playing 70 minutes with 10 men,” Arteta said in his post-match press conference.

“When you come to a stadium like this, I said to them you have to pick players who are happy to go to war. You are going to have difficult moments when you suffer.

Good things happen when you help your team – Arteta

Arteta conceded that the team sacrificed their style of play to keep the Reds at bay. The Spanish tactician also stated that the team’s ‘fight, spirit and brotherhood’ was rewarded by the result.

Takumi Minamino missed a dying minute open goal as Liverpool grapple with the absence of its elite forwards AFP

“If you are willing to help your team, willing to accept that in some moments you are not going to play the game you want, then good things are going to happen,” the Arsenal manager said.

“When you play with that spirit, fight and brotherhood around the team, in the end, you get rewarded. That is what happened today.”

Arsenal goes into the second leg of the semifinal on Wednesday, January 20 with the scores level and holding the home advantage.

However, the Gunners face a midfield crisis with Xhaka’s sending off exacerbating an already scanty midfield dealing with the departure of Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny to the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

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