Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has warned he’s “sure” there will be plenty more twists and turns in the battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League. Arsenal beat Brentford 2-1 at the Emirates on Saturday night in a boost to their top-four hopes.
Academy graduates Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka both scored in the second half before Christian Norgaard scored a consolation for the visitors.
Arsenal have now won six of their last eight Premier League matches, losing just one, and are in a strong position in the fight for Champions League qualification, having not played in the competition since the 2016-17 season.
They sit sixth and one point behind Manchester United, who play Leeds United on Sunday, but having played two games less.
After United play Leeds, Arsenal will have three games in hand – against Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham – and will be a maximum of four points behind the inconsistent Red Devils.
West Ham sit fifth and are also very much in the top-four hunt, as are Wolves and Tottenham below the north Londoners.
Yet while Arsenal have the chance to usurp their rivals thanks to their extra matches, Arteta is refusing to get carried away and is confident there will be setbacks before May.
He told journalists after Arsenal’s defeat of Brentford: “It’s a long way to go but we’re a little bit closer today because we won our game. It’s what we have to do.
“You can see with the result how tough it is to win in this league. We need to go Thursday again, prepare very well, against Wolves is going to be a really difficult match, and perform well to win.
“We need to play better and better and better. That’s the aim. We want to win every game.
“We want to try and have a big purpose for the season. It’s certainly one of them but we cannot look too far. Things change very quickly.
“It’s really difficult to win matches in this league and we have to focus, train tomorrow, train well, review the match and go again and prepare well against Wolves.”
Arteta added: “We have 15 games to go and we know more or less the amount of points that are necessary to be in the fight. We’re still really, really far.
“What we have to do is focus on the next match and don’t lose any heart. This changes very quickly, the season will still have a lot of lot of turnarounds. I’m sure about that.
“We see it every week. We have to maintain everybody fit because we’re a really short squad.
“Maintain everybody fit and everybody with the right belief and the standards have to be raised even more. We want to play better to win more matches.”
Arsenal return to action at home to Wolves on Thursday night having beaten the same opponent 1-0 at Molineux earlier this month despite playing the final 20 minutes with 10 men.
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