Unai Emery says Arsenal must not lose against Chelsea in order to keep top-four hopes alive
Last Updated: 19/01/19 6:47pm
Unai Emery concedes Saturday’s clash with Chelsea is a game Arsenal cannot afford to lose if they are to secure a top-four finish this season.
Last weekend's 1-0 loss to West Ham leaves fifth-placed Arsenal six points behind Saturday's visitors, with Arsenal's woes compounded by Manchester United's victory at Tottenham, which saw United go level on points with the Gunners.
Chelsea can go nine clear of Arsenal with a win at the Emirates Stadium, which Emery believes is a gap his side would struggle to make up, with 15 league games remaining after this weekend.
Asked if a nine-point lead for Chelsea would put fourth place out of reach for Arsenal, Emery said: "I think, yes.
"After we lost at West Ham it is very different - to have a three-point difference to Chelsea or six points. But it's finished that match and the next match is against Chelsea we have an opportunity in front.
"If we win we can be closer to them and continue our way, and I think every player has this ambition and this opportunity to play on Saturday with all we can against them."
Emery said on Thursday he has not thought about a departure from the club for Mesut Ozil, who has suffered with form and fitness this term, and has only featured in four of Arsenal's last 13 matches in all competitions.
Ozil has trained consistently this week and is available for selection after his absence from the squad for the defeat to Manuel Pellegrini's team at the London Stadium.
Asked if he wished Ozil had been available against West Ham, Emery said: "We've won with him, we've lost with him. We've won without him and we've lost without him.
"I think we need every player and sometimes we can't decide whether to play one or the other. But I think this team can find a performance with or without Mesut."