Arteta knows Arsenal must beat Chelsea to keep slim top four hopes alive

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta applauds the fans after the Premier League match at Selhurst Park, Lond

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta applauds the fans after the Premier League match at Selhurst Park, London. Picture: Tess Derry/PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta knows that his side must beat London rivals Chelsea to keep their slim top four hopes alive when the two sides meet at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night.

The Gunners are 10 points behind the fourth-placed Blues after missing the chance to close the gap on Saturday, throwing away a lead to draw against Sheffield United while Chelsea lost at Newcastle United.

Arteta knows that Tuesday night is the difference between keeping hope of a top four finish alive and putting it beyond Arsenal's reach.

"It's really important," he said.

"It's very, very important for us to win this game to fight for that.

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"Tomorrow we need to win."

Another missed opportunity came back in December as Arteta's first home game as boss ended in a 2-1 defeat to Tuesday's opponents after defensive errors cost them dearly.

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The Arsenal boss hopes his side have learnt from that loss, saying: "A lot of things happened and it seems longer than a month to be fair with the amount of games, days that we trained and the amount of things that happened.

"Yes, a lot of things changed, a lot of positives that I am finding in terms of reactions and the things that they are taking onboard.

"We have managed to change, a little bit, the energy and the atmosphere and the relationship and the chemistry with our fans, which was massively important for us."

Hanging onto a lead has been Arsenal's big problem in recent weeks, scoring first in their last five games but only going on to win two of them.

Arteta demanded that his side show a more ruthless edge and try to score more goals to kill off games, saying: "The way we conceded, I think with the last two goals as well, was a little bit hurting.

"We have to try to make a difference when we are first on the scoreline, we need to have the ambition still to score the second and the third goal, where we had the opportunities to do so.

"And in the final moments, in the Premier League, the game is never closed."

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