Mikel Arteta’s half-time message to Arsenal stars en route to Chelsea victory

Kieran Tierney has revealed what Mikel Arteta told his Arsenal players at half-time to inspire them to victory over Chelsea.

The Gunners picked up three points for the first time in almost three months as they beat Frank Lampard’s side 3-1 on Boxing Day.

Alexandre Lacazette opened the scoring from the penalty spot to give Arteta’s side the lead in a top-flight match for the first time since their win over Manchester United on November 1.

Granit Xhaka doubled Arsenal’s advantage just before the break, before Bukayo Saka added a third in the second half, with the Gunners surviving a scare after Tammy Abraham netted late on.

Aftewards, Tierney was asked what Arteta had said to his players during the interval as they looked to hang on for a first win in eight Premier League games.

Mikel Arteta guided his side to a much-needed win over Chelsea on Saturday

“Keep going,” the left-back told Sky Sports. “The last few weeks we’ve been in a different situation at half-time, so we did go in more positive.

“As I said, it was ‘keep going’. It was hard work that got us here in the first place, so we need to keep that up first and foremost.”

The win arrested a poor run of results that had seen Arsenal slip to just four points above the relegation zone, having lost eight Premier League games already this season.

Asked what he and his team-mates did differently against Chelsea, Tierney said: “I think we just started better.

Kieran Tierney won a penalty when he went down under a challenge from Reece James

“We didn’t wait until we went 1-0 down to start playing and create chances, because it’s always hard when you go one down.

“We started on the front foot today and that’s been the message in the last two weeks in training. Today we did that.”

Tierney played a controversial part in Arsenal’s opener as he went down under a challenge from Reece James to earn his side a penalty.

The 23-year-old appeared to have gone down easily, but when asked about it afterwards he played down the debate over whether a penalty should have been given.

“I felt contact when I went down, but I’ve not seen it back,” said Tierney.

The defender also hailed Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno, who made a late penalty save from Jorginho to avert a late fightback from Chelsea.

“Leno has dug us out of a hole there, because it would’ve been a longer five minutes if that penalty had gone in,” he said.

“Fair play Leno. He’s an outstanding keeper and he’s saved us today.”

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