The race for a top four finish is reaching boiling point with Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United all vying for a place in the positions to claim Champions League football next season. With Manchester City and Liverpool scrapping it out for the top-flight crown, it is the remaining two places up for grabs that are of interest to teams in the quest to dine at Europe’s top table next term.
Gunners coach Unai Emery knows his side must try to win three points from a victory when they host Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League in what has become a crucial match as their campaign comes to a nail-biitng conclusion.
Arsenal are currently third, a point behind north London rivals Tottenham but with both the Red Devils and the Blues breathing down their necks.
And when quizzed on whether or not his outfit could claim third place, Emery told the club’s official website: “Each match, for us and for them, is going to be very important — 38 matches give us a chance to be to be competitive, play consistently, to do the better positions in the team.
“Now, I think that we are taking a big performance as are Manchester United, as are Chelsea, as are Tottenham. But each match is now very important and I trust in us, but also, I know, that we need to do a lot to be in the top four and I know United, Chelsea and Tottenham, they are going to win a lot of points between this match and the last match.”
Arsenal have enjoyed a decent run of home form this season but Emery has stressed that it won’t be easy to snare the victory he desires against the Magpies. He added: “I know Monday’s match is going to be very difficult. Newcastle are in a good moment. They have a lot of good players and good organisation. The coach has a lot of experience and he is very competitive and I know that. The last matches they are playing, they are playing with a big confidence and very strong defensively and very competitive. My focus is on how we can break their defensive positions and also a big performance for us to take a win against them.”
Emery goes into the crucial period knowing a top four finish and the chance of winning the Europa League will give him a super haul from his first season at the club since he came in for long-serving boss Arsene Wenger last summer. And one aspect he has been pleased with, he says, is the adaptability of his players to his tactics.
The Spaniard said: “We are in our process but our process is giving us, all the time, better combinations with the players and better combinations tactically. We are playing different systems with different players and we are taking a big performance with them. I have a lot of confidence in us and our players, but I know Monday’s game is giving us a big challenge against them.
“I know we are strong at home but we need to continue working like we are doing and also keep moving forward with a big ambition and big atmosphere in our stadium. I want to create each match with this atmosphere to show them our best performance with our system and tactical plan. Every match is a big challenge for us.”