Emery sees Arsenal positives despite being ‘a big distance’ off title pace

Unai Emery Arsenal
The Gunners have ended the 2018-19 campaign in fifth spot, but their manager believes progress has been made in Premier League competition

Unai Emery claims to see positives at Arsenal despite finishing the 2018-19 campaign fifth in the Premier League and a “big distance” off the title pace.

The Gunners wrapped up their efforts this season with a 3-1 win away at Burnley.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang bagged a brace at Turf Moor to take his top-flight goal tally to 22 and earn a share of the Golden Boot with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

Emery considers those exploits to bode well, while he is also pleased to have closed the gap on the top four in his first season since taking the reins from Arsene Wenger.

There is still much work to be done in north London, with Arsenal a long way from challenging Liverpool and Manchester City for the crown, but progress is being made.

Emery told reporters after seeing off Burnley: “The win gave us 70 points, not enough for the top four, but we are progressing and being more consistent.

“We cannot 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.”

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsenal 2018-19

Arsenal finished just one point behind arch-rivals Tottenham in the table.

That is short of expectation for the Gunners, with second place in north London not good enough.

They are, however, back in the frame for Champions League qualification and can still end the season with major silverware.

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A Europa League final date with Chelsea has been booked for May 29 in Baku, with success in that competition offering a route into elite continental competition for 2019-20.

“I am proud of the players, we deserve to be fighting for the top four, at the last moment we didn't take it, but we are closer to the other teams,” Emery added.

“Our first target in the league we cannot take, but we have the Europa League to play for one title and this [Champions League] target.”