London: Unai Emery challenged revitalised Arsenal to write their own history after they climbed to third place in the English Premier League with a 2-0 win against Newcastle on Monday.
Aaron Ramsey’s first half strike was followed by Alexandre Lacazette’s killer second in the closing stages at the Emirates Stadium, maintaining Arsenal’s impressive progress under Emery.
Emery’s side climbed two points above fourth placed Tottenham and fifth placed Manchester United to bolster their chance of qualifying for the Champions League via a top-four finish with seven games to go.
It is the first time Arsenal have been as high as third place since April 2017, highlighting their improvement since former Paris Saint Germain boss Emery replaced Arsene Wenger at the end of last season.
Ramsey’s fifth goal of the season was only the Wales midfielder’s second since he signed a lucrative pre-contract agreement to join Juventus at the end of the current campaign.
But, while Ramsey won’t be part of Emery’s long-term plans, the future still looks bright for Arsenal, who recorded a 10th consecutive home league victory for the first time since December 1997 to May 1998.
Arsenal finished with 63 points in Wenger’s final season, but Emery has matched that tally with seven games to spare.
No wonder Arsenal fans celebrated an important win by taunting their spluttering north London rivals with loud chants of “are you watching Tottenham”.
“It’s a new history. We are creating our own way. Our target is very clear. We have created a big atmosphere here. We are in a good moment, a good mentality with the players,” Emery said.
“We are improving and making progress, but we know it is difficult. Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United are going to win a lot of games,” Emery added.
Newcastle remain seven points above the relegation zone after a 12th defeat in their last 13 meetings with Arsenal.
“If you don’t take the chances and aren’t precise against a good team, you know it is a matter of time until you make a mistake,” Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez said, before taking a shot at owner Mike Ashley’s lack of investment in new players.
“We have been speaking all season about the final third, you have to spend £50 million, £75 million (to have players to make a difference).”
Ramsey thought he’d given Arsenal the lead when he swept home at the far post from Sead Kolasinac’s flick.
But his celebrations were curtailed as the goal was controversially ruled out by referee Anthony Taylor for Sokratis’s shirt tug on Florian Lejeune....