Beating Manchester City will only boost Arsenal’s belief – Gabriel Martinelli

Beating Manchester City will only boost Arsenal’s belief – Gabriel Martinelli

Gabriel Martinelli says Arsenal's inherent belief will only be boosted by beating champions Manchester City as Mikel Arteta's men look to go one step further than last season.

The Gunners captured the imagination during a strong 2022-23 campaign, only to ultimately finish second as Pep Guardiola's side scooped a third straight title in a storming end to the season.

Arsenal's inability to take a point off them was key in them finishing second and Sunday saw them finally beat City in the league for the first time since 2015, building on their Community Shield shoot-out triumph against the treble winners.

The half-time introduction of Martinelli after three weeks out with a hamstring injury proved inspired, adding extra impetus to the attack before eventually hitting a late winner that deflected in off Nathan Ake to seal a 1-0 victory.

"We know how hard it is to play against them," the Brazil international said. "It was a great performance from the team and a great win.

"Of course (it gives us more belief we can win this season's title). We are Arsenal and we are always believing about the title.

"To win against a big side like them is great and we just need to carry on.

"A special day for me. I tried my best, really hard, to be back with the team and it was a great moment for me.

"It's always good to win against the big teams and we did it today. I'm so happy."

Arsenal remain unbeaten eight league matches into the season and are level in terms of points and goal difference with leaders Tottenham, with their bitter rivals only ahead on goals scored.

"When you play for Arsenal you have to always believe and this is what we do," Martinelli said as they look to bring the Premier League title back to north London for the first time since 2004.

"We play for Arsenal and we always believe we can win the titles.

"It's another year. We're going to try to improve things and try to do better than last year.

"Yeah, I think (there is more depth). We have a great team and it's important to have a lot of options."

Sunday's victory win was made all the more impressive by the fact Arsenal's star man Bukayo Saka was missing, with a muscle injury ending his run of 87 successive Premier League appearances.

"We know our potential," Martinelli said. "We know his potential and how important he is for us.

"Today we did our best, tried to win the game for our fans, for us and for B as well."

Arsenal return to action at Chelsea after the international break, while wounded City look to get their title defence back on track at home to Brighton.

Guardiola's men have lost three of their last four matches in all competitions, including back-to-back Premier League matches for the first time since December 2018.

City midfielder Bernardo Silva said: "It's a setback but it's still the beginning. We're far away from the end of the season.

"It was not the result we wanted. Against a tough opponent it is never easy to play.

"We felt the game was tough for both teams. Both are tough and organised and tense. We had a few chances in the beginning.

"In the end it was a deflection. In my opinion we gave them too much time to think at that moment. We have to be more intense in the pressing.

"It is what it is. It's part of football and we move onto the next one."

City struggled to lay a glove on an Arsenal side that they had beaten in 12 consecutive Premier League meetings before Sunday.

Guardiola's men mustered a mere four shots at the Emirates Stadium, but Silva is not getting carried away with the loss or the recent drop off.

"Some of these results we were not expecting and we didn't want them to happen," he told club media.

"Last season we won the treble but there was a point that nothing was going our way.

"How you overcome these moments is what defines the team and we will keep fighting for all the games. We're going for it again."

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