Mikel Arteta said that Arsenal’s win over Newcastle showed that they have not switched off their focus on the Premier League.
Arsenal have been in midtable for most of the season and look unlikely to reach the European places. Hence, much has been riding on their Europa League campaign. They are in the semi-finals but lost the first leg of their tie with Villarreal.
They prepared for the return leg in ideal fashion, with goals from Mohamed Elneny and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang giving them a 2-0 win at St James’ Park.
As a result, Arsenal are ninth in the Premier League. A top-four finish is virtually impossible, but they aren’t far off the Europa League places – even if most of their rivals have games in hand.
But Arteta is fighting until the end and pointed to the attitude they showed on Tyneside as evidence that they haven’t given up domestically just yet.
He told Sky Sports: “This game showed our focus is still there in the Premier League. We believe that anything is possible if you’re picking up points and we wanted to put bad results out of the way.
“We had a great attitude, some moments of real quality and had total control from the start.
“We refreshed the team because we’ve played so many games. Thursday was very demanding but the team was really committed and focussed on this game and that’s why we won.
“We controlled the game and we accelerated it when we needed to. The early goal gave us confidence which we needed after the defeat on Thursday.
“We have to do as well as we can and finish as high as we can.
“You need big performances and we had that today.”
Arteta bemoans another injury
The one thing that dampened Arsenal’s spirits was the injury suffered by David Luiz early in the second half. After limping off, the defender may have played his last game of the season.
Arteta was gutted to lose another player after suffering with a long injury list.
He said: “It’s incredible the amount of injuries we’ve had. We’re losing big players. There’s nothing we can do about it.
“It’s a shame because David had made a big effort.”