Published: 22:15 | 12/5/19

Gunners miles off pace, says Emery


Arsenal boss Unai Emery admits that the North London giants are a long way off the pace set by newly-crowned Premier League champions Manchester City and runners-up Liverpool.

The Gunners ended their league campaign with a 2-1 away win at Burnley, but failed to finish in the top four for a third consecutive season.

They remained as they started the day in fifth place - a point behind their bitter North London rivals Tottenham and 28 behind Pep Guardiola's City.

But Arsenal can still qualify for the Champions League if they beat Chelsea in the Europa League final in Baku in Azerbaijan on 29 May, a game that is live on BT Sport 2 on the eir sport pack [kick-off 8pm]. 

Striker Pierre-Emerick Augameyang was just one of two survivors from the starting XI in the semi-final win in Valencia on Thursday and he added another double at Turf Moor to his hat-trick at the Mestalla.

The Gabonese international's first came after the break when he pounced on a Ben Mee slip to coolly slot into the net from the edge of the box and then he doubled the advantage with a rasping volley from a tight angle.

His 21 and 22 league goals of the season means he shares the Golden Boot with Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, but a late miss from just a yard out cost him the award in his own right.

Battling Burnley reduced the arrears when Ashley Barnes glanced a Johann Berg Gudmundsson cross into the net before teenage substitute Eddie Nketiah had the distinction of scoring the last goal of the league campaign six minutes into added time to seal the points..

Emery said: “The win gave us 70 points, not enough for the top four, but we are progressing and being more consistent. We can not be 100% happy, but the players are prepared to improve and after get us closer to the teams in the top four.

“We finished a big distance from Liverpool and Manchester City, but closer to Spurs and Chelsea.“We can take some positives. It was good. Like today, Aubameyang. He works for the team with his quality and he scores."

The Arsenal players will now have a couple of days off before starting the build up to Baku, They will travel four days before the game, but Emery is mindful of the problems facing Gunners fans scrambling for tickets, flights and accommodation 3000 miles from home.

“The problem is for the supporters," added Emery. "I prefer to play closer to England. Only 6,000 tickets for us, I think the stadium will be full but maybe not with our fans.”

By Russell Stoddart

Image: Getty Images/ Alex Livesey

Arsenal play Chelsea in the Europa League final on Wednesday, 29 May live on BT Sport 2 on the eir sport pack [kick-off 8pm]. Subscribe here

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