Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin said the Gunners “shut some mouths” with their 2-0 derby win over Tottenham on Saturday.
Arsenal’s credentials were heavily questioned prematch after a 3-1 loss to Manchester City in the previous game left them trailing in the Premier League title race — and staring at the possibility of finishing behind Spurs for the second year running.
But Arsene Wenger’s team restored bragging rights in North London with their best performance of the season, and Bellerin said it should silence some of the team’s critics.
“There’s always a lot of talk but I think it was one of those games where we showed what we could do. We shut some mouths as well,” Bellerin told the Arsenal website. “There are people who talk a lot and now, after watching that game at home, they’ll be thinking that these guys have a chance.”
It was Arsenal’s most complete performance in a long time as they combined effective pressing off the ball with solid defending and clinical finishing — converting both of their only two shots on target. And Bellerin admitted the team has to find a way of performing like that consistently.
“Of course. That’s what we’re trying to do. Sometimes, for different reasons, we haven’t been able to do it, but this is how we set the bar and show what potential we have,” he said. “That’s what we’ve got to work hard to do every single week, week in, week out.”
Bellerin also singled out Mesut Ozil for praise after the German playmaker dictated play in midfield.
Ozil in particular had been slammed by pundits for not delivering in big games but set up the opening goal for Shkodran Mustafi and put in a good shift defensively as well.
“Mesut is someone who gets a lot of criticism, but the players who are around him are very happy to have him and play with him. He makes things easy for you,” Bellerin said. “People sometimes talk about his body language, but he gives everything for this shirt. The players who play around him know that he makes everything so much easier.”