Arsenal star lays down the gauntlet after Tottenham defeat

Szczesny believes Gunners cannot afford any more slip-ups in race for top four

Wojciech Szczesny believes Arsenal must focus on ‘winning every single game’ after they slumped to their fourth league defeat of the season in the north London derby with Spurs.

Kyle Walker’s second-half winner condemned the Gunners to a 2-1 loss at White Hart Lane, leaving them 12 points behind joint leaders Manchester United and Manchester City, and eight points behind fourth-placed Newcastle.

Arsene Wenger’s side sit 15th in the table going into the international break, and Szczesny says they cannot afford any more slip-ups if they are to maintain a challenge for the top four.

“Of course we are behind in the race because we have lost four games and the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City have lost none, so we’re behind at the moment,” admitted Szczesny. “But I believe every team in the league will have a period when they play poorly. We had a poor start, but I believe we can kick on with the season after the international break and catch up.

“I hope we can improve as soon as possible, we need to focus on winning every single game now, make sure we stick together and improve our performances.

“We want to give ourselves the best chance of finishing high in the table, get into the top four and possibly compete for the Championship.

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“We’ll probably judge that after the break, and see how we react against Sunderland, because we’re very disappointed.

“Maybe it’s good that we can go away for the internationals and forget about it, and hopefully when we get back the attitude will be the same and the performances will be much better.”

Szczesny accepted the blame for Walker’s winner, which swerved past the Arsenal keeper to give the hosts the lead for a second time with only 17 minutes left. Arsenal had matched their hosts for much of the game, with Szczesny making at least four top-class saves, but the Polish shot-stopper recognised that his error was the moment the game slipped away.

“I think in the first half we were a little bit sloppy on the ball, but in the second half we scored the equaliser, we controlled the game and we gave a silly goal away,” he added.

“The second one I blame myself because I shouldn’t get beaten from that distance. There was lots of movement on the ball, and I reacted too late. I got a touch but it wasn’t enough to keep it out. But the team played really well, and we didn’t deserve to lose the game.

“Of course if you make good saves you want to take something out of the game. But we lost the game and came out with no points so it all doesn’t matter really.”

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