Monday 24 October 2016

Gabriel believes Arsenal have rediscovered confidence to challenge for title

Published 03/04/2016 | 12:16

Arsenal's Alex Iwobi (right) and Alexis Sanchez scored as Arsenal's resurgence continued
Arsenal's Alex Iwobi (right) and Alexis Sanchez scored as Arsenal's resurgence continued

Arsenal have regained the confidence they need to overhaul both Leicester and Tottenham and win the Barclays Premier League, according to defender Gabriel.

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The Gunners eased to a 4-0 victory at home to FA Cup semi-finalists Watford on Saturday for their first home win since beating the table-topping Foxes on Valentine's Day.

Alexis Sanchez, Alex Iwobi, Hector Bellerin and Theo Walcott scored the goals which gave Arsene Wenger's side a result which their dominant performance against a lacklustre Watford deserved and backed up an impressive victory at Everton before the international break.

And, after Wenger said earlier in the week he would talk to record-signing Mesut Ozil about his comments that Arsenal had shot themselves in the foot in the title race, the Frenchman will welcome the rediscovered optimism among his squad.

"We've regained our confidence once again," Gabriel said after the win over the Hornets.

"Not so long ago we lacked a little in confidence and we weren't going into the match fully focused, so with a victory, we come back with a better self-esteem.

"Now, with the second win, it will make us grow more and I'm sure next time we will improve even more."

Gabriel, who has established himself as the first-choice partner for Laurent Koscielny at the expense of Per Mertesacker in recent weeks, knows Arsenal now need Leicester and Tottenham to drop points - but believes the title is still there for the Gunners.

"It's not every game that we'll have an excellent performance like today," he said.

"We were just much more focused against Watford and that's why things went much better and we recorded a positive result.

"The team are now very excited with the last two wins in the league, which were two difficult games, but we're all thinking positively that we can win.

"We're also hoping for some fault on Leicester and Tottenham's part and if we carry on the way that we have been lately, that we can definitely win the league."

This defeat means Watford have taken just one point from their last five league games and they never came close to replicating the performance which saw them beat Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in their FA Cup sixth-round meeting last month.

Quique Sanchez Flores admitted to tactical errors in the way he set his side up for the game and defender Sebastian Prodl wants to move on as Watford look to secure another season in the Premier League before their semi-final date against Crystal Palace at Wembley on April 24.

"I don't think Arsenal are the team we should look at in terms of us in the Premier League. We have to get back into shape as soon as possible and get back to the performances we can," he said.

"We are ready to go and we want to get to 40 points as quickly as possible. We need to forget this game as soon as possible.

"Of course we need to analyse the mistakes, but we also have to keep taking a look at the table.

"We can have a lot of confidence with 37 points as a promoted team. We can get back on track again now with a different performance against Everton."

Press Association

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