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Arteta praises Gunners team-mates

The Gunners suffered a poor start to the campaign, with the Spaniard thrust into the spotlight having been brought in to replace Cesc Fabregas, who was sold to Barcelona.

However, things have improved massively at Emirates Stadium as they find themselves eight points clear of fifth-placed Chelsea.

Arteta has played a pivotal role in the upturn in fortunes, and he insists those in the squad never doubted that things would get better.

"To be honest I was really surprised with the spirit when I came here - even when we were down it was so good," the former Everton star told Arsenal's official website.

"It is something you rely on because if you start blaming each other and shouting at each other it is not good.

"This group has always been positive, the manager has always been positive with the players and we have kept at it.

"We have the talent, we know we have the ability to win games and sometimes it is just about the balance in confidence. We have it all together now.

"When you are winning, life is good and you can see that the fans are enjoying it at the moment. They deserve it as well because they were behind us when things weren't going right.

"Hopefully we can finish the season strongly because we have a group of players and staff who really mean business."