Emery urges Arsenal to build on being back in Premier League top four spot
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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 home win over Southampton, and Manchester United dropping points in their 0-0 draw with Liverpool, put the Gunners 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 goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Henrikh Mkhitaryan should have been added to and 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.
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“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.”
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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 displays since the December appointment of Ralph Hasenhuttl as successor to the sacked Mark Hughes, and despite having had a fortnight off, and a trip to Tenerife, to prepare.
Hasenhuttl said: “It is not easy to win here. 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.”