Show stopper and Arsenal goal keeper Bernd Leno was among the players that gave a high match play that helped seal their home win against Manchester United rendering them helpless after making it the first loss of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer since he joined United.
He has revealed that Arsenal were fired up to beat Manchester United after Jesse Lingard took the proverbial at the Emirates two months ago.
England forward Lingard celebrated a United goal, as they won 3-1 in round four of the FA Cup, by moonwalking in front of the Gunners’ home supporters.
Keeper Leno responded with a fine display in Arsenal’s 2-0 Premier League win over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side on Sunday. The German saved twice from Romelu Lukaku, who also hit the bar while Fred hit the post.
Granit Xhaka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored to secure the win and end Solskjaer’s unbeaten Premier League streak.
Lingard missed the game with a hamstring injury, but Leno admitted he was delighted to exact revenge.
He said: “In your mind you will never forget something like that, when somebody is celebrating. You don’t want to see it again, so we were motivated.”
Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil appeared to reference Lingard in a post-match tweet on Sunday night which read: “Dancefloor huh?! Superb performance! Brilliant result! Thank you Emirates Stadium! Proud to be a Gunner!”
Victory meant the Gunners leapfrogged United into the fourth and final Champions league qualification spot, and Leno added: “We knew before the game about our chance, because Man United had one point more than us [in the race for fourth].
“Now we have two points and that was enough motivation for us. We are in the top four and the other teams now wait for our mistakes.”
Despite the impressive victory, Leno has warned his side not to get complacent with the race for the top four set to go down to the wire.
He said: “There are still eight games and we want to win every game but we have to focus on each one, because the other teams will wait for small mistakes. We don’t play against the other top six teams, so I think we can beat the others. The next game is against Newcastle at home and it is an opportunity to win and stay in the top four.”
Aubameyang admitted afterwards that the north Londoners are desperate to make it back into European football’s elite competition after two seasons out.
The Gabon marksman, now on 20 goals for the season, said: “We want to get back into the Champions League. We are really hungry.
“Of course [I miss the Champions League). When you see it on the TV and you hear the music, it is something special. So yeah, we have to carry on and win games to be in the top four.”
Aubameyang also insisted his strong bond with fellow striker Alexandre Lacazette enabled him to bury the ghost of his penalty miss against Spurs in the north London derby last week.
Lacazette handed the ball to Aubameyang after winning the spot-kick to seal the match.
Aubameyang said: “I watched it a lot, the penalty I missed. I knew that I made a mistake when I shot last week. But in life you have to always look forwards.
“After Lacazette got the penalty he said to me, ‘You have to shoot’. I feel well and I was ready to score.”