Emery reiterates belief in top-four finish despite another defeat
Arsenal manager Unai Emery insists the Gunners can still finish in the English Premier League's top four, despite a shock 3-2 home defeat by Crystal Palace on Sunday.
Emery's side paid the price for a defensive horror show at the Emirates Stadium that leaves their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League via the domestic route hanging in the balance.
The Gunners, who can also reach Europe's top club competition by winning the Europa League, fell behind to Christian Benteke's first goal for a year before Mesut Oezil equalised early in the second half.
Shkodran Mustafi's blunder allowed Wilfried Zaha to put Palace back in front.
James McArthur took advantage of more woeful Arsenal defending to make it three. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang reduced the deficit, but it was too late to stop Palace's first league win at Arsenal since October 1994.
"It's a big frustration because it was a big opportunity. At the set-pieces, we didn't work and weren't as strong as we have been," said Emery.
"Their second goal was very bad for us and took away our confidence."
Arsenal sit fourth, level on points with Chelsea before the Blues' match against Burnley this morning (Singapore time).
The Gunners' first league loss at the Emirates since the opening weekend of the season means they need to improve a dismal away record when they play at Wolves and Leicester this week.
Despite missing an opportunity to tighten their grasp on a top-four spot, Emery remains undaunted.
"We still have the possibility to achieve our first target - qualifying for the Champions League - through the Premier League or Europa League," he said.
"In this key moment, we have the chance to fight for the top four. If we win at Wolverhampton, it is still in our hands."
As for Palace, they could be losing their hold on Zaha, who has expressed his desire to leave Selhurst Park and play in the Champions League next season.
The 26-year-old gave a glimpse of his class when he accelerated away and delivered a cross that Benteke ballooned over the bar.
"He's given an honest answer to a question, but that didn't look like the performance of a player keen to get away," Palace boss Roy Hodgson said of Zaha's influential display.
"We have no interest in selling Zaha. But you never know what can happen. Life throws up these things." - AFP
- SPURS (3rd, 67 pts)
v Brighton (Tomorrow, Home)
v West Ham (Saturday, H)
v Bournemouth (May 4, Away)
v Everton (May 12, H)
- ARSENAL (4th, 66 pts)
v Wolves (Thursday, A)
v Leicester (Sunday, A)
v Brighton (May 5, H)
v Burnley (May 12, A)
- CHELSEA (5th, 66 pts)
v Burnley (This morning, H)
v Man United (Sunday, A)
v Watford (May 5, H)
v Leicester (May 12, A)
- MAN UNITED (6th, 64 pts)
v Man City (Thursday, H)
v Chelsea (Sunday, H)
v Huddersfield ( May 5, A)
v Cardiff (May 12, H)
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