Mikel Arteta is not getting carried away by Arsenal's upturn in form, despite a three-match winning run in all competitions that could soon see his previously struggling side competing for a Champions League place.

Arsenal had been enduring a dismal season and, even with improvement under Arteta, the new head coach had tasted victory only once in the Premier League heading into the clash with Newcastle United on February 16.

But the Gunners thrashed Newcastle 4-0, before winning 1-0 away at Olympiacos in the Europa League and edging Everton in a 3-2 league thriller.

Arteta's men are now just four points behind Manchester United in fifth, which could yet prove enough to qualify for the Champions League if Manchester City's European ban is upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport following their appeal on Wednesday.

The Arsenal head coach quickly dismissed the suggestion his focus could turn away from the Europa League solely towards domestic action, though.

"The team selection is based on training, the load of the players and what we want to do against the opponent," Arteta told a news conference of the possibility of resting players in the second leg against Olympiacos on Thursday.

"We have three different routes to get into Europe [including the FA Cup]. We have to try to maximise the three of them, and we go game by game.

"It's the only thing we can try to do at the moment. The objective is still so far behind [away].

"We need to win a lot of games. We need to put a really consistent run together. We have just won two games [in the league], which is not enough."

However, Arteta, who was awaiting further news of Sead Kolasinac's shoulder injury, has seen plenty of positives on and off the field since his December appointment.

"A lot of things have happened in two months in many different areas of the club," he said on Wednesday. "I think the team is progressing well. I think the club is looking in a better place.

"I think we are getting much more unity in the sections of the club and, as well, a great energy back from the fans each time we're playing at the Emirates and away from the Emirates.

"So, there are a lot of positive things but still a lot of things to do, things to improve, individually, collectively and as a club. We are in that process at the moment."

Mikel Arteta tasted victory for the first time since taking charge of Arsenal after Nicolas Pepe's third league goal of the season put his side on course for a 2-0 victory over Manchester United at Emirates Stadium.

Ivory Coast international Pepe capitalised on a nervous start to the game by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, who lost for only the second time in 10 league games after failing to expose Arsenal's flaws in the way Chelsea had done in a 2-1 win on the same ground three days earlier.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos doubled Arsenal's lead just before half-time and the hosts' improvement was testament to Arteta's impact on a squad that has appeared disjointed for much of this season.

The revived performances of Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka in the Gunners' midfield will have particularly pleased the coach, who delivered Arsenal's second victory in 13 gruelling Premier League games that had seen them drop into the bottom half of the table, this result lifting them back up to 10th and offering cause for optimism at the start of 2020.

Marcus Rashford sent a shot dipping into Bernd Leno's arms from 25 yards in the first minute as United showed their threat on the break.

But Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's trickery set Sead Kolasinac free in the United box after just eight minutes and his cross deflected into the path of Pepe, who swept into the net from 12 yards to get the hosts off to an excellent start.

Pepe went agonisingly close to doubling Arsenal's lead seven minutes before half-time when David de Gea's careless clearance fell to him 20 yards out and he curled a shot onto the post with the United goalkeeper flailing.

But Arsenal kept the pressure on an embattled United defence and got their reward when Alexandre Lacazette flicked a corner into a crowd of defenders before it bounced to Sokratis, who lashed it high into the net from close range.

Fred tied his luck with a rising shot from 25 yards 10 minutes into the second half, but Leno claimed it comfortably as United struggled to create the space they needed to trouble Arsenal.

Nemanja Matic did carve out an opportunity with a clever ball into the area a few moments later but substitute Andreas Pereira hit the side-netting with his angled effort.

A foot injury to Kolasinac was the only fly in the ointment for Arsenal, who will hope this victory marks the beginning of a push towards a place in the top six that only recently looked very much beyond them.

 

What does it mean? The end of a long wait at the Emirates

Arsenal's previous home victory in the Premier League came all the way back on October 6, when they beat Bournemouth 1-0, but the way Arteta's men stuck to their task and bettered United all over the pitch will have satisfied fans as much as the result.

Attack the best form of defence for Kolasinac

Kolasinac's surging runs gave United no rest as Arsenal attacked with an extra man throughout the first half, and he kept up his all-action display down the left flank to ensure Ozil always had an option out wide.

Martial goes missing

The service directed towards him was intermittent, but when Anthony Martial did receive the ball in dangerous areas he was too often slow to react and opted to isolate himself in an advanced position rather than dropping deep to help his toiling midfield colleagues.

What's next?

Arsenal are at home again on Monday when Leeds United visit in the FA Cup, following the Red Devils' trip to Wolves in the same competition on Saturday.

Sead Kolasinac is facing several weeks on the sidelines after Arsenal confirmed he suffered ankle ligament damage against Manchester City.

Kolasinac hobbled off in the first half of his side's 3-0 defeat to City last weekend.

In an injury update on their official website on Friday, Arsenal revealed the 26-year-old defender is "aiming to return to full training in January".

Arsenal are already without fellow left-back Kieran Tierney until March after the Scotland international underwent surgery on his dislocated shoulder earlier this week.

And in a further blow for the Gunners ahead of Saturday's Premier League meeting with Everton, Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Mesut Ozil are all fitness doubts.

Bellerin (hamstring) and Holding (knee) played no part in the defeat to City, while Ozil injured his right foot prior to being withdrawn in the second half.

Dani Ceballos is aiming to return to training next week after missing Arsenal's last six Premier League games, while Granit Xhaka is available for selection after recovering from the concussion he sustained against West Ham.

Arsenal are 10th in the Premier League ahead of their trip to Goodison Park, seven points adrift of the top four.

Arsenal midfielder Dani Ceballos is facing another month on the sidelines due to a hamstring injury.

The Spain playmaker sustained the problem during the 1-1 Europa League draw at Vitoria SC at the start of this month.

Head coach Unai Emery initially referred to that setback as a "small injury" but, in a short injury update posted on their official website ahead of Saturday's Premier League home match against Southampton, Arsenal confirmed damage to Ceballos' left hamstring means he is aiming to return to full training in mid-December.

The 23-year-old has made 17 appearances in all competitions since moving to Emirates Stadium on a season-long loan from Real Madrid

Emery will assess Sead Kolasinac before the Southampton game after the left-back returned to club duty with a tight left hamstring.

Bosnia-Herzegovina international Kolasinac completed 90 minutes of his country's 3-0 defeat to Italy last Friday but sat out the subsequent win over Liechtenstein by the same scoreline.

Emery finds himself under pressure following a run of four winless matches in the Premier League.

A man has been jailed for 10 years for the attempted robbery of Arsenal players Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac.

Ashley Smith, 30, pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery and possession of cannabis when appearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court via video link on October 3.

He was sentenced at Harrow Crown Court on Friday.

A second man, Jordan Northover, also pleaded guilty to attempted robbery on Wednesday and will be sentenced at a later date.

The two men approached the car in which Ozil and Kolasinac were travelling on Platts Lane, Hampstead, north-west London on July 25.

CCTV footage showed one of the suspects threaten Kolasinac with a sharp object while demanding his watch. The Bosnia-Herzegovina international fought the pair off and he and team-mate Ozil, who was in the car with his wife, drove to a restaurant in Golders Green, where they spoke to police.

The Metropolitan Police said the breakthrough in the case came when the moped used in the robbery was found parked in a cul-de-sac in Borehamwood after an alert by a member of the public.

CCTV from a local pub also showed Northover changing clothes shortly after the incident, which were then discovered on nearby grassland.

"We are delighted to have secured such a significant sentence," chief inspector Jim Corbett said in a Metropolitan Police statement.

"Those involved in moped-enabled offending should look at this and decide if they too want to spend the best years of their life in prison, because that is the message that this sends out. Offenders feel that because they wear a helmet or disguise the appearance of a moped or motorcycle that we will not identify who they are. But we can and we do, as evidenced in this case.

"I would like to thank the members of the public who came forward with vital information. It shows that one call can make all the difference, whatever the crime. Also my team, who have worked tirelessly to secure today's conviction."

Ozil and Kolasinac missed Arsenal's opening Premier League game of the season at Newcastle United due to fears for their security in the wake of the incident.

Kolasinac has since played 11 times for the Gunners in all competitions, while Ozil has played in just four matches.

Both are in line to be involved in Saturday's Premier League visit to Leicester City.

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