Arsenal had the chance to move into third place with victory over Everton, however, Phil Jagielka’s early first-half strike was enough to condemn the Gunners to another away day defeat.
Unai Emery’s men were far from their creative best, only managing two shots on goal throughout the game. With the majority of the Gunners’ remaining league fixtures away from home, Emery accepts that his side must improve their performances on the road.
A missed opportunity
“We know it’s going to be difficult and that we are going to have to take opportunities like today,” said Emery.
“It was a good opportunity to take three points today and continue [in third] in the table, but after the result we are fourth.
“We need to be consistent in 38 matches but we lost that consistency today. We will have more chances, more opportunities in the next matches. It depends on us and also on other teams. After this result, we can be negative because it’s three points lost, but it’s in our hands to continue to take chances to be in the top four.”
The Arsenal boss admitted his side lack consistency, and they must capitalise on their top four rivals dropping points if they are to secure a Champions League finish,
“Today we had two different halves. In the first half we were consistent and we didn’t concede good chances to them, but they scored from one throw-in, unfortunately for us. In the attacking third, we really needed more. If the result was like we deserved in the first half… we couldn’t continue like that in the second half.
"We needed to take chances in the attacking half. In the second half, we decided to change and play with a 4-3-2-1. Defensively, we lost consistency in the second half. They created more chances in the second half. We created better chances than in the first, but we couldn’t score and they also didn’t.”
Gunners lack balance
Next up for Arsenal is a huge European clash against Serie A side Napoli. The north Londoners have been impressive at home, but with the Europa League quarter-final being a two-legged affair, Emery is aware that Arsenal must show significant improvement in order to progress.
The former PSG manager has urged his squad to add balance to their displays when they are without home comforts:
“We need this balance, we need to do it better offensively and defensively with the balance,” Emery remarked.
“It gives us lots of information. We lost a great opportunity today to take three points.”