Arsenal prioritising the Premier League over Europa League glory, says Xhaka

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Granit Xhaka has insisted Arsenal’s priority this season is to finish in the top four rather than win the Europa League. 

The Gunners claimed a point against Tottenham on Saturday after Harry Kane’s penalty cancelled out Aaron Ramsey’s opener at Wembley.

Arsenal are now just one point behind Manchester United in fourth position in the Premier League with the two sides set to meet this Sunday.

Xhaka, who has been an Arsenal player since 2016 after joining from Borussia Mönchengladbach, believes things are progressing well under new manager Unai Emery.

“After Arsene Wenger left a lot of things changed in this club,” said Xhaka. “We are happy with the coach, we improve a lot, we work a lot.

"It’s a big step if we come back to the Champions League. We want it as well. It’s not easy, we know that, but we keep working. 

“Two times in two years we didn’t play Champions League. A club like Arsenal have to play in the Champions League and we have to show that always on the pitch. 

“We work a lot, changed our identity, you can see that week after week. It’s important that we are there, not so far from the Champions League. Last games we want to take the points and to finish in the top four. 

“If you win Europa League you go straight away to Champions League. But I think Premier League is our first priority to go the Champions League.”

Xhaka also credited Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for stepping up in the final moments against Spurs to take a penalty.

Hugo Lloris saved the striker’s spotkick, but the Switzerland international insisted it’s not a big deal as the club look towards their next game.

“If you take [a penalty] on 90 minutes, a penalty in the derby you have big balls,” Xhaka added. “Not all players would take this one. We are happy he took the penalty.

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“At this moment you have to leave one player alone because you have a lot to think. He was of course not happy. 

“But we are a team, everyone we lose and we win together. He was unlucky today but he helped us in a few games a lot. So it’s not something big because he doesn’t score.”

Arsenal's next fixture is a Europa Leage round-of-16 tie against Rennes on March 14.