It is in our hands – Emery confident on Arsenal’s Champions League hopes

Arsenal risked losing ground in the race for the top four after they lost 3-2 at home to Crystal Palace.

Unai Emery reminded doubters that Arsenal’s Champions League hopes are still in their hands despite a 3-2 defeat to Crystal Palace.

Arsenal succumbed to their first home league defeat since August on Sunday, with soft defending again a major factor.

With Mesut Ozil having cancelled out Christian Benteke’s opener, Palace hit back with two goals in the space of eight second-half minutes, making Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s strike nothing more than a consolation.

The Gunners would have moved into third place, two points clear of rivals Tottenham, with a win, but Emery pointed out that Arsenal can still decide their own fate despite passing up a huge chance to boost their qualification hopes.

“A big frustration, it was a big opportunity,” he said.

“But we can say we had a big opportunity in the matches before and we took a lot of points in a lot of key moments that give us the opportunity to be now, in our way, with the possibility to achieve our targets.

“Our first target is to get to the Champions League through the Premier League or Europa League. We lost a big opportunity but it doesn’t change our idea.

“It’s in our hands, we can continue winning and being in the top four.”

Arsenal’s set-piece frailties again came back to haunt Emery, with Palace opening the scoring from a free-kick before James McArthur headed in the winner unmarked from a corner, while Wilfried Zaha’s goal came due to an error from Shkodran Mustafi.

And Emery acknowledged that set-pieces in particular are proving a difficult hurdle for his side to overcome.

“If we were better in the set-pieces maybe we could win this match,” he added.

“In all the season I think that has been a problem. They have good players and in the set-pieces we weren’t strong like all season. We struggled more than we wanted in these situations.

“A day can happen like today. They have very good players and an experienced coach. They won at Manchester City, Newcastle and Leicester.”

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