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Emery: Chelsea clash key to top-four race

Unai Emery admits Arsenal's top-four hopes depend on Chelsea clash

January 19, 2019 By Ali M.
The Spaniard fears that defeat at home to the Blues would be the final blow to their odds of finishing in the top four.

On Saturday, Arsenal will lock horns with Chelsea in a highly-anticipated Premier League clash. This Emirates Stadium encounter will be a huge test for the Gunners, with their top-four hopes riding on this tie.

Speaking ahead of the game, Unai Emery admitted that defeat against the Blues could end their race to grab a Champions League qualification spot. A look at the standings will help you understand why.

After the disappointing 1-0 loss to West Ham last weekend, the north London outfit now trails Sarri's men by six points. Emery feels that should the gap between them and that fourth spot increase to nine points, there might be no way back for Arsenal.

When asked if a nine-point deficit will be too much to overturn, the Spaniard said (as per the Daily Mail): "I think yes. On Saturday we play with all we can against them."

The former PSG boss added: "After our loss to West Ham it is a big difference to be six points behind Chelsea instead of three, but the next match is against Chelsea and the opportunity we have is to be closer to them."

Arsenal's record against the Stamford Bridge side has been good in recent encounters, losing only once in their last seven competitive encounters. However, a shaky defense could be their undoing on Saturday.

The Gunners have conceded 32 goals after 22 games which is the worst defensive record among the top six. An unimaginative attack has also been a culprit, with many calling for Mesut Ozil to return to the lineup to spark creativity.

Emery admitted that the German could feature this weekend but doubts remain over his starting berth. Ozil will be made to fight for his place as rumors link him with an Emirates Stadium exit.

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