Arteta looks to rally Arsenal with top four hopes in the balance

Soccer Football - Carabao Cup - Semi Final - Second Leg - Arsenal v Liverpool - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - January 20, 2022 Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

(Reuters) – Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has turned his attention to the Premier League’s top four race after they were dumped out of the League Cup, with the north London side set to go another season without a trophy.

Having been knocked out of the FA Cup earlier this month, Arsenal lost the League Cup semi-final 2-0 on aggregate to Liverpool on Thursday.

Arsenal are sixth in the league standings — behind Tottenham Hotspur and level with Manchester United on points — and are looking to finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 2016.

“We’re here to win football matches and that’s the pressure. We know the amount of matches that we’re going to have to win if we want to be there, but you can’t look too far ahead,” Arteta told reporters ahead of Sunday’s game against Burnley.

“There’s a lot that happened in recent weeks and it’s been extremely hard to manage the squad and the team because we’ve lost a lot players.

“We have to reunite, we have to win on Sunday and move from there because then we have a window, and hopefully we can get some players back.”

Arsenal’s squad depth was tested against Liverpool and Arteta said he did not know if those who missed the game would return against Burnley as the club deals with injuries, suspensions and players away at the Africa Cup of Nations.

“We have to go day by day. There are different reasons why they are not with us and we’ll assess them,” Arteta added.

“The good thing is that they all want to be involved as quick as possible… Hopefully, we haven’t lost anybody else for Sunday.”

Bottom side Burnley have not played a league game since Jan. 2 after postponements due to COVID-19 outbreaks but Arteta said he expected a difficult game.

“(They are) a competitive team,” he said. “For us, it’s a massive game because after that defeat and that disappointment (against Liverpool), we’ve got to get back on track winning.”

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