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Arsenal manager Unai Emery expecting tough fight to finish in the top four

Emery: "I trust in us, but I know we need to do a lot to be in the top four."

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Unai Emery thinks his Arsenal side face a very tough battle to finish in the Premier League top four this season

Unai Emery expects the race to finish in the top four in the Premier League is going to be tight, ahead of Arsenal's game against Newcastle on Monday Night Football.

Just four points separate third-placed Tottenham and sixth-placed Chelsea, but Arsenal in fourth may be the best placed given their run of fixtures, with no matches against the top six remaining.

Emery disagreed, though, saying Arsenal's five away fixtures make it a challenging task and that he needed to see big performances from his players if they are to match the points tallies of their rivals.

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"Each day, each match for us, for them, is going to be very important," said Emery. "We need to be competitive, play consistently and finish in the better position in the table.

"Each match is now very important. I trust in us, but I know we need to do a lot to be in the top four.

"I know Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham are going to win a lot of points between this match and the last."

First up for Emery's side are Rafa Benitez's Newcastle at the Emirates, live on Sky Sports Premier League, where Arsenal will be looking to record a 10th home league win in succession.

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Arsenal are still waiting on the fitness of Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka, both of whom were given a rest on Friday, and Emery was quick to point out how difficult a challenge the Magpies may pose.

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"I have a lot of confidence in our players, but I know Monday is a difficult challenge," said Emery. "I know we are strong at home, but we need to continue working like we are doing, and also keep moving forward with big ambition and a big atmosphere in our stadium.

"I want to create this atmosphere every match and also to show how the best performance with our system, our tactical plan."

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Arsenal's squad return to Premier League action refreshed after warm-weather training in Dubai and Emery was confident his players would be prepared.

"We must be in the same speed to start to play against Newcastle," said Emery. "I think the players and me have this habit for training, to keep moving forward.

"Now we are ready with big players. We can be stronger and more competitive."

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