Arsenal have improved under Unai Emery this season, but the Spanish coach wants them to improve their away form drastically if they’re going to call the 2018-19 campaign a success.
The Gunners haven’t won any of their last six Premier League away games, losing four of those, but they still sit in sixth place and just three points off the top four. That is largely due to their impressive home form, as they’re now 12 PL games unbeaten at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal head to bottom side Huddersfield Town this Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on CNBC and online via NBCSports.com), so this seems like a perfect opportunity for Emery’s men to get a road win to keep their top four hopes on track.
He agreed when asked if the game at Huddersfield was a ‘must-win’ in their battle for UEFA Champions League qualification.
“My first critic is myself. We can make the top four, but we know it’s not easy,” Emery said. “We are strong at home, but I think we need to do better away. We started very well, changing our mentality to get more points away. But now we need to recover our confidence and performance. Also we know defensively we need to do better. We tried to play with three and two centre-backs. Be passionate, be calm but above all work.”
Emery revealed that Arsenal have been working on how to play against teams who will press them high up the pitch, and he believes Huddersfield will do just that this weekend as they have nothing to lose under new manager Jan Siewert.
“I think they are going to push and they are going to do a lot of duels on the pitch against us,” Emery said. “We are working on that and we also need to improve on our away form, how we can do better playing against teams who press high against us.”
When you look at Arsenal’s remaining schedule, their toughest test will come at home (where they’ve only lost once all season) as they play Manchester United.
Away from home their toughest test remaining is against Tottenham at Wembley in the north London derby, and the Gunners do have a favorable schedule compared to the rest of their top six rivals.
The two keys to them getting into the top four are as follows, 1) stay fit defensively. 2) beat the likes of Huddersfield, Burnley, Watford, Everton and Leicester away from home.
If Emery’s men can do that, they will be right in the mix for the top four as teams around them have plenty of games left against one another in the final months of the campaign.