Sport Soccer

Thursday 20 June 2019

Unai Emery calls for Arsenal to show more in bid to break into top four

The Gunners are outside the top four on goal difference.

Unai Emery has called for more from the Gunners (Adam Davy/PA)
Unai Emery has called for more from the Gunners (Adam Davy/PA)

By Mark Mann-Bryans, Press Association Sport

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery insists his side still “need more” in their quest to reach the Premier League top four – even if they head to Southampton defending a 22-match unbeaten run.

The Gunners have not lost since mid-August as Emery’s tenure began with defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea.

Since then they are unbeaten across all competitions and head to St Mary’s looking to extend that streak.

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Unai Emery is keen for Arsenal to break into the top four (Adam Davy/PA)

Despite their run, Arsenal sit outside the top four – albeit only due to their inferior goal difference to London rivals Chelsea.

Emery is keen for his players to continue working towards his philosophy as the Spaniard looks to take Arsenal back to the Champions League.

“I think we need more,” he said.

“I think our beginning is good, but at the moment in the table we are fifth and our mind is focused on being in the first four positions.

“I think we are doing our way and in one process improving, but the reality is that we need more.

We are improving step by step. Unai Emery

“Our ideas and work with the players is to learn together. All of us can give everybody new ideas.

“I think the players are open to listening to us about our new tactical work with our analysis in videos. We need to do this work quickly, but we also need patience.

“We are improving step by step – and I think the players are also showing very, very good commitment and behaviour every day.”

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Lucas Torreira is among those likely to return for Arsenal (Mike Egerton/PA)

The likes of Bernd Leno, Hector Bellerin, Lucas Torreira and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are all likely to return after Emery made nine changes for the 1-0 Europa League win over Qarabag on Thursday night.

Emery’s main selection dilemma comes in defence as he heads to the south coast without four centre-backs.

Rob Holding and Konstantinos Mavropanos are injured while Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi are suspended.

Laurent Koscielny is the only recognised central defender available to Emery – but the 33-year-old only made his comeback against Qarabag after a seven-month lay-off with an Achilles injury.

“It’s very important for us to have Laurent Koscielny back because he’s our captain, he has experience,” Emery said of the former France international.

“He’s, for us, one important player in the group. Him coming back is very important for us because he’s been training with us for the past month.

“But we also need to start with him helping us on the pitch in the games, and it’s very important for us that he can play with us.”

Press Association

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