Mikel Arteta rates Arsenal’s top-four hopes after victory over Wolves
Mikel Arteta warns his Arsenal players that there is still a long way to go in the race for a top-four finish
Mikel Arteta has warned his Arsenal players that there is still a long way to go in the race for Champions League qualification despite their impressive 2-1 victory over Wolves on Thursday night.
Arsenal came from a goal down to claim a dramatic victory when Alexandre Lacazette fired home deep into second-half stoppage time after Nicolas Pepe’s earlier equaliser.
The result lifted Arsenal up into fifth place in the table and left them a point behind fourth-placed Manchester United with two games in hand over the Red Devils.
Arsenal are set to fall further behind some of their rivals this weekend as the Gunners are not in action – they will take on Watford away from home the following weekend.
With Arsenal still having 14 games left to play this season, Gunners boss Arteta has warned his side not to get carried away with Thursday’s result.
Asked about what the result does for Arsenal’s top-four hopes, Arteta told his post-match news conference on Thursday: “It pulled us a little bit closer. One game less and three points. 13 games to go, and now it’s about Watford.
“I think it’s about belief, that we should keep playing the way that we are playing – and keep insisting – and have that resilience and that capacity to dominate matches like we are doing right now…and then that’s the energy and (synergy) with our fans to create a special atmosphere, where people don’t want to come and play against Arsenal.”
Arteta added: “Today what is important is that we focus on playing better, maintain that capacity as a team to dominate and take the game where we want, and that’s what I want from everybody involved, especially the subs because today I think they were magnificent.
“There are some good examples for them to use tomorrow and we will keep going.”
Thursday’s goal was just Pepe’s third of the season for the Gunners and the first in the Premier League for the north London side.
However, Arsenal boss Arteta has been impressed by what he has seen from the Ivory Coast international in training in recent days.
“I told you last week, I see a different Nico,” Arteta replied when asked about Pepe’s impact on Thursday.
“I don’t know, it’s his energy, his happiness, his all-round play, how he’s training, I was convinced that he could come in and do something for the team.”