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Granit Xhaka sends Champions League message to Arsenal stars as Tottenham clash on horizon


Granit Xhaka has warned Arsenal that they now have to go on a run of wins if they are to stand any chance of a top four place this season.

The Gunners are only six points off the top six in the Premier League and eight off the top four after Sunday’s 3-1 win at Leicester, with 12 games left of the campaign.

Arsenal registered probably their most impressive league performance of the season without Bukayo Saka, left on the bench after the Europa League win over Benfica, and captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, also among the unused substitutes.

Goals from David Luis and Nicolas Pepe, and a penalty from Alexandre Lacazette earned Arsenal their win in a much-improved performance after falling behind at the King Power Stadium.

But the Gunners have won only two of their last six league games – and midfielder Xhaka has insisted that his team need more consistency if they are to close the gap.

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Xhaka said: “We have to do it game by game, not for three games, not for four, we have to constantly be like this, with this energy, this team spirit.

“After this I am looking forward to us doing something.

“We knew Leicester had very good midfielders, and a very good team as well. They try to play football, but we won a lot of duels, a lot of 50-50 balls and the goals were beautiful. I am so happy for the team.”

Arsenal face Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday, and then, after they open their Europa League last 16 opening leg against Olympiakos on Green, they meet Tottenham next weekend in the north London derby.

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Xhaka added: “We started very slowly at Leicester. But after my mistake when we conceded the goal, the team went up.

“We knew it would be very difficult after the Europa League game, after the travelling and everything else, to be ready for a midday kick off.

“It wasn’t easy but in the end we deserved to win. We played a really, really good game after 10 minutes. It was a really important three points for us.”

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said: “Every game is going to be different so what we did today is not going have a knock-on effect on the next Premier League game.

“I think the team is clearly improving and taking a direction that I like. All the time I say it’s about the consistency.

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“We’re still giving things to the opponent. We did it against Benfica, we did it today against a more dangerous team in short transitions.

“That’s something we have to eradicate to give ourselves the best possible chance.

“Everything I see attitude-wise, what we are creating as a group and the way we are playing within our model, it looks much closer to what we want.”


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