United’s FA Cup celebrations gave Arsenal added motivation, says Leno | Football

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Bernd Leno says Arsenal had extra incentive to beat Manchester United after Ole Gunnar Solksjær’s team had celebrated with an exuberance that was noted during January’s 3-1 victory at the Emirates in the FA Cup.

Jesse Lingard, in particular, caused a stir with his moonwalking and Leno said after Arsenal’s 2-0 win against United on Sunday: “In your mind you will never forget something like that, when someone is celebrating. You don’t want to see it again so we were motivated. We knew before the game about our chance because Manchester United had one point more than us. Now we have two points [more than them] and that was enough motivation for us.

“We are in the top four and the other teams now wait for our mistakes. There are still eight games and we want to win every game. We don’t play against the other top six teams so I think we can beat the others.”

Leno excelled during Arsenal’s victory, producing a string of important saves which gave the platform for a rare clean sheet and a vital win in the chase for a Champions League position. The German says he feels pleased with his form and that he feels fully settled now at the club. “I feel for a long time now I have adapted to this team, to this club,” he said. “The manager gave me the time and when I got the chance, I played good so he said ‘you will stay in goal’. I am pleased to play for Arsenal and I want to give the club and the team something back with my performances.”

Arsenal now turn their attention to the Europa League, and Petr Cech’s turn in goal. Leno is hopeful that the refreshed confidence they take from beating Manchester United will give them a boost to overturn a bad first leg defeat against Rennes. “We are very happy,” he says. “After Thursday in Rennes, it was difficult to be positive but the manager said in football everything can change in one day. Now we have again that positive atmosphere and I hope we will take that into Thursday.”

The four-way sprint to the line for the third and fourth Champions League places


31 Mar Liverpool (A)
7 Apr Brighton (H) 
13 Apr Huddersfield (H) 
20 Apr Man City (A) 
27 Apr West Ham (H)
4 May Bournemouth (A)
12 May Everton (H)
TBC Crystal Palace (H) 


1 Apr Newcastle (H)
7 Apr Everton (A)
15 Apr Watford (A)
20 Apr Crystal Palace (H)
29 Apr Leicester (A)
4 May Brighton (H)
12 May Burnley (A)
TBC Wolves (A) 

Manchester United

30 Mar Watford (H) 
2 Apr Wolves (A) 
13 Apr West Ham (H) 
21 Apr Everton (A) 
24 Apr Man City (H) 
28 Apr Chelsea (H) 
4 May Huddersfield (A) 
12 May Cardiff (H)


17 Mar Everton (A) 
31 Mar Cardiff (A) 
8 Apr West Ham (H) 
14 Apr Liverpool (A) 
22 Apr Burnley (H) 
28 Apr Man Utd (A) 
4 May Watford (H) 
12 May Leicester (A)
TBC Brighton (H) 

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