David Luiz reckons the FA Cup victory Arsenal ground out against Newcastle last week was a sign of the progress the team is making.
Since Arsene Wenger’s time in charge of the club, the Gunners have been guilty of trying to play football at all costs.
Something that over the past decade or so has been detrimental to their hopes of challenging for the game’s biggest pots.
But against the Toon — who they face in the top flight tomorrow, nine days after that 2-0 extra-time victory — they showed they were capable of winning ugly.
And Luiz believes it was another reminder that they are growing in a good way.
He said: “This shows our maturity. It shows how we understand how some games will go.
“We know that sometimes the games are going to be tough to score and, of course, sometimes we’re not going to win.
“But our team is improving a lot — we understand the management of the game.
“Sometimes the game’s going to be tight like it was last week, but we were mature enough and we kept calm to win the tie.”
But despite dropping two points they are still enjoying a good run with 10 points from a possible 12 in their last four top-flight fixtures.
Boss Mikel Arteta said: “We did a lot of good things against Newcastle last week but didn’t have the capacity to put the ball into the net in a lot of the situations we created.
“Against them, we need to be ruthless in front of goal and create these chances.
“We need to attack them as much as possible and, if we get to that number of chances again, we will be fine.”
Another positive of the Newcastle game was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal — only his second in nine games.
That tally extended to two in 10 on Thursday and, while Arteta accepts he needs his big players such as captain Auba to step up in the difficult games, he insists the team as a whole needs to take responsibility in the first instance.
Arteta added: “Yes, our experienced players need to step up, but it’s not about individuals.
“It’s about what we do as a collective and we have to do more in this.
“And then, for sure, when you look at these games and how they are won, a lot of times it is because of individuals as opposed to collective actions.
“It is a moment of spark that has to open up these sorts of games, and then the game gets much easier and you get it where you want.
“On Thursday, we missed that, but it isn’t just Auba.
“It was a lot of players giving a lot of balls away without any real pressure – and that allowed Palace to run in transition.
“But, more than anything, it was about a lack of freshness.
“We’ve had a lot of games, we’ve had a lot of fixtures. It is what it is — we cannot use that as an excuse.”
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