Unai Emery watched his side thrash Bournemouth before setting his sights on the “big motivation” of beating Tottenham on Saturday to close within a point of their north London neighbours.
The Gunners eased to a 5-1 victory as Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan shone to keep Emery’s men in the top four.
The pair scored to put Arsenal on course for the win before Lys Mousset pulled one back – only for Laurent Koscielny, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette to strike after the interval.
The win, coupled with Tottenham’s loss at Chelsea, means Arsenal head to Wembley this weekend four points adrift of their fierce rivals.
They could close the gap further still by completing a league double over Spurs – and Emery admits reducing the distance to just a solitary point will be a motivating factor.
“It is a big motivation,” he said
“We need to take the opportunity like today, these three points. After we can have and get an opportunity like Saturday. It’s one team that, at the moment, are better than us in the table.
#YaGunnersYa 😎💥 Five-Star team performance tonight! Happy for everyone at the club and for all the fans! 🤙🏼#WeAreTheArsenal#M1Ö#COYG@Arsenalpic.twitter.com/rL5ZuWUw3C— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) February 27, 2019
“I think it is very difficult there, to win, but it is a good test, a great test and a positive test.
“It was a good performance (against Bournemouth) and we can be proud of every player. Here at the Emirates we were speaking about the fact we have a lot of matches to show the fans a complete match with one good result with the three points but with some difference between them with the goals, like today.”
Ozil starred on his return to the team while Mkhitaryan is enjoying a strong run of form.
Despite that, Emery would not be drawn on if the pair would retain their places against Tottenham.
“Now, I am going to watch this match for the analysis and I am going to watch Tottenham (losing at Chelsea) and after decide our game plan against them with every player,” he added.
“We need the players in the first XI and on the bench, and we need a big commitment from every player to help us. The next match is Saturday. If we can play with big performance I want every player to help us with this decision.”
Bournemouth have now lost their last nine away matches and never really looked like springing a surprise in north London.
Manager Eddie Howe admitted his team were not good enough and called on the Cherries to take “ownership” of the poor performance.
“Arsenal did have individuals who played well and they were too good for us,” he said.
“But that mindset takes away ownership of what we delivered with our own team. They may have played well but our perspective is clear that we can do so much better and are capable of much more than that.
“We will not kid ourselves and our analysis has to be that it was not acceptable. We will reflect on the game honestly, it was a difficult night epitomised by our start to the match and it was uncharacteristic of us to not be good in any aspect of our game”
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