Manchester City vs Arsenal: Unai Emery says defeat laid gulf in quality bare

Sergio Aguero’s hat-trick saw City close the gap at the top of the Premier League table to two points

Mark Critchley
Northern Football Correspondent
@mjcritchley
Sunday 03 February 2019 20:47
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Unai Emery believes that Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat at Manchester City on Sunday showed the gulf in quality between the two teams.

Sergio Aguero’s hat-trick saw City close the gap at the top of the Premier League table to two points, with leaders Liverpool playing on Monday night.

Aguero took just 46 seconds to open the scoring but Arsenal equalised through Laurent Koscielny and then managed to stifle City for much of the first half.

However, on the cusp of half time, Aguero finished off a fine City move to restore their lead and Emery’s side did not recover. Another Aguero goal, bundled in just after the hour mark, ensured the champions would take all three points.

The defeat saw Arsenal fall to sixth after victories for both Chelsea and Manchester United in the hunt for a top-four finish and Emery believes it showed how far his side have to go.

“When we were doing a little bit more attacking and opening space, they show they are better than us at the moment,” Emery said. “I think the result is the difference between Manchester City and Arsenal.

“The difference with City is shown today. With Liverpool [the difference] is big. Tottenham are keeping a lot of consistency in matches and taking a lot of points.

“We have to think game by game, keep our consistency. Today we lost but we are looking ahead. It is normal. Continue working.

“These are the matches when we can get into the positions we want. We know it is difficult and we need time but we must be demanding of ourselves.”

Emery still believes that Arsenal can earn a top-four finish and, beyond that, close the gap on the Premier League’s best so long as they learn the lessons from Sunday’s defeat.

“First is the [difference in] quality,” he said. “We cannot stop that. My players worked and struggled but they showed their capacity. OK, for now, we are behind Man City, we accept that.

“But 38 matches can give us opportunity to improve and be closer to the top four. Today is for us to learn, work harder but recognise the superiority in different situations.”

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