Arsenal struggled for long periods, particularly in the second half, against West Ham in Saturday night’s London derby.
It was to Mikel Arteta’s credit that they were able to grind out another victory, despite a relatively flat performance.
Former Gunners midfielder Michael Thomas was quick to praise Arteta’s influence and that of another Spaniard, Dani Ceballos.
MORE: Video: Outstanding awareness from Ceballos and Nketiah as Arsenal take a late lead over West Ham
“You can’t perform every week,” Thomas told CaughtOffside after the match.
“The team is starting to gel and working on patterns of play which are clear to see in the chances we create and the goals we score.
“The most important thing is that the team is able to know that they are under pressure but still fight for one another to get the result!
“I think when the games are tight and you’re under it a bit, it is important to motivate and in football there is always one more chance.
“Mikel seems like he’s very vocal on the touchline and I’m sure the passion from him carries over to the players on the field.”
Ceballos provided the assist for Eddie Nketiah’s late goal, and it’s clear what the midfielder brings to the side.
“Ceballos is the glue,” Thomas continued.
“He comes and collects and then breaks the line which is always a difficult thing to do and requires a special kind of player to do so.
“It was his first start since being back after the short pre-season and I’m sure as he gets more sessions under his belt you will see much better performances.
“His assist shows the hunger he has to get himself in that position late on and then he had the quality to realise who was around him and pick out the right pass.”
Though there’s an awful lot to admire about the north Londoners now, particularly in terms of their mentality, they still need reinforcements if they want to be challenging for trophies, according to Thomas.
“I think we are a couple players short in terms of the amount of quality coming off the bench and being able to adapt to different games/opposition,” he added.
“I’m hoping we bring in Thomas Partey who can offer some real steel and energy in the middle and Aouar looks like a real technician in the middle and another creative outlet who would come to life when teams play the low block and you’re needing to break down a stubborn defence.
“I would still love to see Reiss Nelson getting a few more appearances and really pushing on this year.”