There was a stretch of three games over the middle February during which it seemed Arsenal’s season was at risk of falling apart. Defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium left the Gunners slumped in sixth place in the Premier League table, with the away loss to BATE Borisov one week later also leaving their Europa League hopes hanging by a threat.
Since then, Arsenal have made quite the recovery. They have won five of their last seven games with their only defeat coming away to Rennes in the Europa League, a result that was overturned with a 3-0 home win in the second leg on Thursday night. This run of results has seen Arsenal lift themselves back up into the top four and firmly into Europa League contention.
Unai Emery has faced questions almost from the moment he first arrived at the Emirates Stadium last summer and there have been times when the former Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla has looked to be buckling under the pressure. But now, as Arsenal head into the final stretch of the season, it seems that he and his team are finding their stride.
Last week’s home win over Manchester United was a landmark moment in the Gunners’ season. Defeat would have widened the gap between Arsenal and the top four and bolstered one of their rivals at a critical time of the campaign. Instead, they built momentum of their own and now look value to achieve their objective of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
“In the domestic league, like here, we have six teams playing to be in the top four,” Emery said after the win over Rennes. Two teams are going out and the Europa League is giving us a big opportunity also to take one way to go to the Champions League. And also, it’s one title. I am excited about this competition.
“It’s not just because you can get to the Champions League through this competition. It’s also because it’s one title and I think we can feel the possibility to win one title, doing this way with a difficult moment like today and playing also against big teams.”
Arsenal seem to be hitting their stride at just the right time, whether it’s in the Premier League or the Europa League where the Gunners have to be one of the frontrunners. Their season might just be coming together.
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