Arsene Wenger hailed the mental strength of his Arsenal team after they fought off Sunderland to win 4-1 at the Stadium of Light.
The Gunners led through Alexis Sanchez at the interval but they were stunned midway through the second half when Jermain Defoe levelled from the penalty spot after Petr Cech had fouled Duncan Watmore.
Wenger summoned Olivier Giroud off the bench and the French ace duly netted twice in five minutes before Sanchez completed the scoring.
I was worried we could lose – but we have shown great strength to bounce back.
The win kept Arsenal on the pace at the top of the Premier League and Wenger credited his players for not allowing Sunderland’s equaliser to turn the game against them.
“It was a mental test when we were at 1-1. We missed so many chances, so many opportunities, and I was worried we could lose – but we have shown great strength to bounce back,” he said.
“In the Premier League at 1-1 you can lose the game but it was about how we responded. Do we panic, give up, feel sorry for ourselves? We responded well and in the end it was a comfortable win.”
With the North London derby against Spurs looming next weekend, Wenger felt the win was vital to keep momentum on Arsenal’s side in the wake of a stalemate with Middlesbrough last time out in the league.
“It was an important result for us. We had six wins, then one draw at home, which was disappointing, and a second draw or defeat would have been like we had dropped our level,” he added.
Arsenal are 21/20 to beat Tottenham at the Emirates next Sunday. Spurs are 12/5 while the draw is 5/2.