Arsenal have their sights firmly fixed on a third-place finish in the Premiership. Just a couple of weeks ago it looked like the best the Gunners could hope for was fourth place. But with Tottenham reverting to their usual lack of determination, and dropping points like leaves in autumn, Arsenal, with their weekend trouncing of Manchester United, are just one point behind the Lillies.
This was the Gunners ninth win on the trot at the Emirates, and although there is still room for improvement, fans are now starting to believe in earnest that they can get one over on their North London rivals.
Their first goal in their 2-0 victory was scored by Granit Xhaka, who had an excellent game. It was a strange goal that saw David de Gea rooted to the spot as the strike by the Swiss midfielder made the ball swerve away from the middle of the goal towards the post. It wasn’t the most vicious bend, but with de Gea committed to the direction he mistakenly anticipated to be heading – it was enough.
Arsenal’s second goal came from the penalty spot after Alexandre Lacazette was fouled. Up stepped Pierre-Emerick Aubamayang. Despite having missed a penalty in the Gunners’ previous match against Spurs, he tucked this one away without any problem.
The Gabonese was full of optimism after the game. He desperately wants to be apart of the Champions League competition 2019/2020 and said how important it was for his side to beat both Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United.
But against United, Arsenal didn’t have everything their way. Goalkeeper Bernd Leno was called on several times to make a fine string of saves from United’s Lukaku. However, the Gunners’ team spirit did not let them down – unlike their North London rivals who surrendered a 1-0 lead courtesy of Harry Kane as they capitulated, losing by 2 goals to 1.
If Arsenal can beat Tottenham to the third or even fourth place in the Premiership, it will be sweet indeed for all Gooners. The signs are good. Not only is Tottenham’s frailty likely to play a part, so too are the respective run-ins that the two teams face.
For their part, Arsenal don’t have to play anyone higher than Wolves currently in seventh place. Spurs, on the other hand, have to play games against Liverpool and Manchester City, neither of which they are likely to win.
As part of his teams training for the run-in to the end of the season, Unai Emery is taking his squad of players out to Dubai. After the upcoming international break and the Gunners’ Europa League games against Rennes, they don’t play again until April 1st when they host Newcastle at The Emirates. It’s the perfect time to slot in their five-day training trip.
As Emery pointed out it will be a wonderful opportunity to get in some warm weather prep and break up their normal routine ahead of playing out the last few Premiership matches.