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Monday 18 December 2017

Bellerin believes the Gunners have shut up their critics with win

Hector Bellerin (r) looks to have the advantage over Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen. Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Hector Bellerin (r) looks to have the advantage over Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen. Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Hector Bellerin claims Arsenal shut up their critics by blowing away Tottenham in the north London derby.

Shkodran Mustafi and Alexis Sanchez were both on target at the Emirates Stadium as Arsenal sealed a 2-0 victory over their fiercest rivals on Saturday.

The result was all the more satisfying given Spurs had been hailed as overtaking the Gunners since finishing above them last season for the first time since 1995.

But Bellerin believes Arsenal silenced the doubters with a ruthless performance that moves his side to within one point of Tottenham in the Premier League table.

"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 mouth as well," Bellerin said.

"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."

Arsenal visit in-form Burnley next weekend and the question is whether they can now replicate their intensity against Tottenham on a more regular basis.

"That's what we're trying to do," Bellerin said. "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.

"That's what we've got to work hard to do every single week, week in, week out."

This was the first time Spurs had lost to Arsenal in the league since March 2014, with Mauricio Pochettino's side now sitting 11 points behind Manchester City.

"It's a low, it's a big hit for us," midfielder Christian Eriksen said.

"I went into the game feeling confident, feeling fit. It didn't go our way. We tried our best to come back and try to create something but they took their goals and it was tough after that.

Pass

"The last pass, the last shot, it just wasn't there."

Tottenham could justifiably point to dubious refereeing decisions in the build-up to both Arsenal goals but few could argue with the result.

"We know we can do so much better than that," defender Ben Davies said.

"When their goal came it was a bit of a sucker punch and to concede another before half-time was a bit sloppy and killed us. We were confident in ourselves.

"We were up for a big game and ready for the challenge but we didn't put our best foot forward and that's the most disappointing thing."

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes Sanchez and Mesut Ozil proved their commitment to the cause after Saturday's success. The star duo have not extended their contracts beyond next summer but both their performances showed why they each remain crucial to their team's chances of success this season.

Sanchez could have added more to his tally while Ozil was influential throughout as his bending cross set up Mustafi's bullet header.

Wenger said: "If you have to give me one credit, it's that I've never questioned that - I know them well and I know that when these guys go on the football pitch, they want to win the game.

"They've shown their commitment again today. I've never questioned their commitment.

"The problem is that, when a player gets near the end of his contract and has a bad game, everybody says it's because he's going. Their interest is to play."

However, Wenger stopped short of claiming that pulsating victories like these might persuade Sanchez and Ozil to stay.

"I've been in this job long enough to know that's not enough," Wenger said.

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