Arsenal boss Unai Emery urged his players to take it one game at a time in their battle to hold down a top-four spot in the Premier League, saying that he is “realistic” about their hopes of finishing in a Champions League berth.
The Gunners climbed up to third for the first time this season with Monday’s comprehensive 2-0 win over Newcastle United, only to drop down to fourth place 48 hours later following Tottenham’s win at home to Crystal Palace.
Emery’s side still have their top-four hopes in their own hands, however, as they are above Chelsea on goal difference and are two points better off than sixth-placed Manchester United, with a game in hand on both.
Arsena face a tough-looking trip to Everton in their next outing this weekend.
— Premier League (@premierleague) April 5, 2019
Asked about his side’s aspiration of securing a place in next season’s Champions League, Emery told reporters at Friday’s news conference: “I am very realistic. We are in a good moment. It depends on the match on Sunday and the three points. Each match is important for that.
“If we win we are third, if we don’t win we can lose our position. But football is each moment about enjoyment, preparation, working, playing.
“It depends if we are efficient on the pitch. If we are competitive for 90 minutes we can achieve these three points. It’s a long way. We need to be positive but also realistic.
“Realistic is: Sunday is a very big challenge and a big opportunity. We are going to continue in our way, Sunday is the first. The players are very focused on this match and our moment.”
Arsenal’s victory over Newcastle made it 10 wins in a row on home soil, in stark contrast to their underwhelming away form.
Emery’s side have won just one of their last eight league games on their travels, losing half of those, and they have just five away league wins to their name all season.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 1, 2019
With five of Arsenal’s remaining seven games to be played away from north London, the former Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain boss says an improvement is required.
“We are thinking game by game. We know five matches away of seven is a big challenge,” he added.
“Away we want to achieve good performances as at the Emirates Stadium. I think we have confidence now. We know it’s very difficult.
“It’s a long way for the last matches. Each match is coming for us, information is coming for us, how we can take the next matches.
“Sunday against Everton is the most important match for us. We know other teams will demand a lot from us because they will take a lot of points.
“For every team it’s the same. We don’t set up differently. In all my career I did the same but not for me, I also watched other teams. Usually every team gets more points at home than away. Every team.”
Arsenal have taken four points from their last two away matches, following up a 2-1 win at Huddersfield Town with a 1-1 draw at Tottenham.
“It’s our challenge,” Emery added. “The last matches in the Premier League: Huddersfield, Tottenham. We had good performances. Good results.
“The first is we need to feel our moment now, getting better. Above all, being competitive at home. We want to be the same away.
“We know the difficulty is because first each match at home you can feel better. Also Everton won against Chelsea, they drew against Liverpool.”
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