Sunday 25 August 2019

Everton defeat not a hammer blow to top-four hopes, says Arsenal boss Emery

The Gunners will slip to fifth if Chelsea avoid defeat against West Ham on Monday.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery insists their top-four destiny remains in their own hands (Peter Byrne/PA)
Arsenal manager Unai Emery insists their top-four destiny remains in their own hands (Peter Byrne/PA)

By Carl Markham, Press Association Sport

Arsenal manager Unai Emery is remaining positive about their top-four hopes after insisting their destiny remains in their own hands despite a 1-0 defeat at Everton.

A 10th-minute goal from Phil Jagielka, who was not in the team 30 minutes before kick-off but received a late call-up after illness ruled out Michael Keane, was enough to inflict a sixth away defeat of the season on the Gunners.

Arsenal have conceded in 15 consecutive top-flight away matches for the first time since February 1985 and, with four of their remaining six Premier League matches on the road, they face a tough task.

They could be knocked out of the top four by Chelsea on Monday night, although they will have a match in hand and that is what is foremost in Emery’s thoughts.

“I am in my mind in the same as before the match,” he said. “We know it is going to be difficult and today was a very good opportunity to take the three points and go third, but after the result we are fourth and we need to be consistent.

“We are going to have chances also in the next matches and it depends on us and on other teams.

“After the result we can be negative because (we have) three points less (than we could have had), but it is in our hands to continue taking chances to be in the top four.

“It is a bad result, not a good performance, but we are fourth.”

After waiting more than two years for a win over one of the Premier League’s big six, Everton now have two in successive home matches.

“Delighted. Everything that we did since the first minute, the desire, the fantastic spirit and we deserved the three points,” said manager Marco Silva, whose side moved within a point of seventh-placed Leicester.

“We were the best team on the pitch. With more goals, it would be more fair. The chances we have created, we should score more goals.”

After a dreadful run of three league victories in 14 between December and February, the Toffees have now won three games in a row.

They restricted Arsenal to just two shots on target and England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, disciplined in the week after being involved in a fracas at a pub in the early hours of Monday, had the quietest of afternoons.

“We are in a fantastic run apart from the last 30 minutes against Newcastle and we lost that because of an offside goal,” added Silva.

“The first three months of the season, we had a fantastic run. We had that period in December and January which were not good months for us at all and we lost some confidence.

“In that two months, the details were making the difference against us and we worked on that.

“The performance is helping us also. I can see our goalkeeper had a calm afternoon, a very good sign for us.”

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