Arsenal forward Leandro Trossard (L) starred in the win at Fulham
London (AFP) - Mikel Arteta praised Leandro Trossard’s “intelligence” after the Arsenal forward provided the assists for each goal in the Premier League leaders’ 3-0 win at Fulham on Sunday.
Arteta’s side restored their five-point lead over second-placed Manchester City thanks to Trossard’s most dynamic performance since signing from Brighton in January.
The 28-year-old Belgian has proved a valuable addition to the Gunners as they chase a first title since 2004.
Trossard might only have scored once for Arsenal, but his creativity and intelligent play have impressed Arteta, with those qualities on full display at Craven Cottage.
His pin-point corner was headed in by Gabriel for Arsenal’s opener, then Gabriel Martinelli nodded in from the Belgian’s cross five minutes later before Martin Odegaard took another precise delivery and fired home just before the interval.
“He got three assists and could have scored two. I think he was really impressive,” Arteta said.
“Not only that, he had an injury three days ago which could have taken a week, or another 10 days, but he was really willing to come back early and the doctors and medical staff did a lot of good work.
“It makes a big difference in the team. We needed him today and his contribution was superb.
“It’s football intelligence. He’s really clever to understand straight away what we want, what’s required. He’s executed it really well.”
After City’s 1-0 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday had cut Arsenal’s lead to two points, this was a significant response from the north Londoners.
They have won five successive league games since losing to City in February and now have 11 matches left to seal a most unexpected title.
An encouraging day for Arteta was capped off 14 minutes from time when Gabriel Jesus came off the bench to make his first appearance since undergoing knee surgery following an injury playing for Brazil at the World Cup in November.
“It was a big boost. The first step today. We didn’t know if it was the right game today. He said to me a few days ago ‘I’m still missing something’,” Arteta said.
“Yesterday I looked in his eyes and he said ‘I’m ready’. I said ‘OK!’ So then we had the opportunity to throw him in.
“It’s that first step to give him the big boost. He looks free, he looks ready and straight away he generated those two big chances. It’s great to have him back.”