Emery hoping for more of the same as Arsenal return to top four

Posted Monday, February 25, 2019 by PA

Emery hoping for more of the same as Arsenal return to top four

Unai Emery urged his Arsenal team to build on their return to the Premier League’s top four ahead of a week that could define their season.

Arsenal’s 2-0 victory at home to Southampton coupled with Manchester United dropping points in their 0-0 draw with Liverpool has put them back on course to qualify for the Champions League.

Further fixtures with Bournemouth, on Wednesday, and next Saturday against rivals Tottenham could yet determine whether that remains a realistic ambition, but following an improved performance Emery has demanded they seize on their rediscovered momentum.

First-half finishes from Alexandre Lacazette and Henrikh Mkhitaryan should have been added to, and manager Emery said: “We cannot control the results of Manchester United, Chelsea or Tottenham. Only when we play them. That is the only moment we can decide their results.

“Most important is to go game by game. Same; three points versus Tottenham but it’s one game when we can control their results and ours. Our first thought is to win on Wednesday. Be organised.

“We have a lot of matches and it’s important to have big performances like (this).

“Our first competition for us is the Premier League. It gives us the possibility to be consistent. At home we are feeling strong but away, although the last match we won at Huddersfield, we need to take more positive steps away.”

If Arsenal are again on course for a top-four finish, 18th-placed Southampton are again on course for the Championship.

They produced one of their poorest performances since the December appointment of Ralph Hasenhuttl as successor to the sacked Mark Hughes, and despite having had a fortnight off, including a trip to Tenerife, to prepare.

On Wednesday they host fellow strugglers Fulham and Hasenhuttl said: “We don’t look if it is easy against them — it is not an easy game for us. We knew from the beginning that to take the points we need to stay in the league and to take these wins, we (must) try against every opponent.

“We also tried (against Arsenal) but it is not easy to win here. It is also not easy to win against Fulham — it is another important game for us.

“We saw a good start from our team, had the first big chance, a very, very big chance, and then on the counter-attack you are 1-0 behind. That’s horrible, for the mentality and the mind; the worst thing that can happen in that moment.

“After this goal we also had a lot of chances to score, when we tried to attack it was not so bad, and then the second goal was a horrible mistake in a zone we didn’t have to take any risks in, and against such a team they’re killing you in that moment. After this it was easy for them.”

The returning Michael Obafemi suffered a suspected hamstring injury, meaning he joins fellow forward Danny Ings on the sidelines.

Hasenhuttl added of the teenage forward: “He has this problem with his body because his shape and posture is a very stiff one. We must change the treatment for the future.”


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