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Arsenal’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos issues rallying cry ahead of must-win game against Chelsea

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Sokratis has urged Arsenal to improve (Getty Images)

Sokratis Papastathopoulos has called on his Arsenal teammates to boost their top-four chances by beating Chelsea at the Emirates next weekend.

Arsenal slumped to a third Premier League defeat in their last six games against West Ham on Saturday, losing 1-0 at the London Stadium courtesy of Declan Rice’s first professional goal.

Results elsewhere mean that Arsenal are six points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea in the Premier League table while only goal difference separates them from Manchester United in sixth.

Following this weekend’s defeat, Sokratis claimed that Saturday’s London derby against Chelsea is now a must-win game and that Arsenal have to improve from this weekend’s showing.

‘If we want to be in the top four we have to work together,’ he said.

‘Chelsea is another game and we have to regroup — a lot — if we want to do something. It will be a difficult game but if we want to be up there, we have to win.

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‘We did not play well [against West Ham]. All the team was not like the last games. We have to work, we have to look at what our mistakes were and improve for the next games.’

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Arsenal had been on excellent run under Unai Emery, stringing together a 22-game unbeaten streak between August and December, however, they have encountered difficulties of late.

As well as losing three times in the league, Arsenal were also beaten 2-0 by Spurs in the Carabao Cup, meaning that they have lost half of their last eight matches in all competitions.

Emery’s decision to leave Mesut Ozil out of his squad entirely against West Ham has also been criticised given Arsenal struggled to create many goalscoring opportunities in the game.

Laurent Koscielny claimed that Arsenal’s forward players lacked composure in the final third against West Ham and Sokratis echoed his captain’s sentiments.

‘Look at how many chances we would have had if we had done better with the last pass,’ he said.

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