Leno urges Arsenal to keep focus and grab Champions League spot

Talking Points

Keeper Bernd Leno told of the focus within the side as Arsenal chalked up three games without conceding a goal when they eased past Newcastle with a convincing win in the Premier League which boosted their hopes of claiming a top four spot.

With Manchester City and Liverpool vying for the league crown, third and fourth places are up for grabs with the Gunners, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Manchester United all battling for a high finish to secure a Champions League place next season.

And Unai Emery’s side did their chances no harm at all as goals from Aaron Ramsey and Alex Lacazette made it 10 straight top-flight triumphs at the Emirates Stadium in a one-sided encounter against a rather placid Rafael Benitez team.

Leno is at the heart of the treble shutout and — the first time Arsenal have managed that particular statistic since December 2017 — and he has praised the concentration of his team-mates during the run, which includes a 2-0 win over Manchester United in the Premier League and a 3-0 victory over Stade Rennes in the Europa League.

He told the club’s official website: “I think from the first minute to the last minute it was a concentrated performance from us, It was very hard because Newcastle play very deep throughout their whole team and then we scored the goals and it was a well-deserved win.

“We had to keep calm because Newcastle were waiting for one chance from a corner or a free-kick to score and then it’s more difficult to score a goal and win, so I think the first goal was very important for us. We kept possession and kept playing the ball, which was the main reason we played so well.

“I think we’re in a very good position but it’s still a long way because the other teams will wait for our mistakes. We have to be focused in every game and if it’s possible we need to win every game. Then we can get back to the Champions League.”

Meanwhile, Ainsley Maitland-Niles says he is delighted that the win keeps alive the hopes of attaining Champions League football.

The marauding wing-back said: “It’s every team’s dream to play Champions League football. It’s the best European competition in the world. To play against all the big teams would be fantastic and you get to test yourself fully. That’s all we wanted to do, to go out there and win. We’ve made one step closer to succeeding.

“It was a great performance. We knew we had to get the three points today to go into third place. It was just about staying focused on the task and not conceding. We always knew we were going to score. I’m just trying to be consistent with my performances. I speak with the manager quite often and he tells me what he wants me to do, what I do well and what I can improve. It’s going well at the moment so I’m proud.”

Next up for Emery’s outfit is a trip to Merseyside to take on Everton at Goodison Park on April 7.