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Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny aims dig at Arsene Wenger in Unai Emery praise

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Wenger left Arsenal last summer after 22 years in charge, though the Frenchman had struggled in recent seasons.

He was replaced by Unai Emery who has Arsenal battling for the Premier League top four again after the Gunners finished sixth last season.

Emery’s Arsenal have been a lot more competitive in matches against their top-four rivals.

Indeed, the Emirates outfit have picked up 12 points against fellow teams in the top six – a marked improvement on the six gained last year.

And while praising current boss Emery, Koscielny has appeared to take a dig at his former managers tactics and mentality.

“Our record against the other big six teams this season is positive,” he said.

“We have won 12 points compared to six last season.

“It shows how we are approaching those games differently.

“It is not just about attacking. We are more intelligent, we are more measured in our plans.

“We can change tactics halfway through a game, we can set up differently.

“The manager is using different formations and it shows his flexibility and the players’ too which is a good thing.

“Of course, we still need to do better away from home in the big games but we are on the right path.”

Arsenal are looking for a way into the Champions League having missed out on it this season.

They remain in the Europa League, with the winners of that competition earning entry into Europe’s top competition.

And Emery has admitted he would rather win the Europa League to qualify than finish in the Premier League top four.

“The Champions League is very important but the Europa League grew up a lot and now is giving every team the possibility to play in the Champions League,” he said.

“In the domestic league, like here, we have six teams playing to be in the top four.

“Two teams are going out and the Europa League is giving us a big opportunity also to take one way to go to the Champions League.

“And also, it’s one title. I said to the players, I am excited about this competition.

“It’s not just because you can get to the Champions League through this competition.

“It’s also because it’s one title and I think we can feel the possibility to win one title, doing this way with a difficult moment and playing also against big teams.”

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Arsenal news: Yannick Carrasco opens door to move with latest comments

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Express Sport revealed earlier this month that Arsenal are still keen on Carrasco after failing to land him in the January transfer window.

Carrasco seemed keen on the move, having spent the last year playing for Dalian Yifang in China.

The Gunners tried to get a deal over line in January, but there were concerns of Arsenal’s request that the deal was a loan.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery noted at the beginning of the window that they had intentions of securing players on loan because they couldn’t afford any permanent signings.

And now it seems that weeks before the summer transfer window opens, Carrasco has issued his first plea for European clubs to sign him.

“I would love to return to Europe. A lot of clubs were interested in me,” Carrasco told Belgian outlet HLN.

“We tried to find a solution in January that would enable me to leave Dalian Yifang.

“But I can understand the club’s thinking. They wanted me to stay.”

Carrasco also noted that he had lost his place in the starting eleven for Belgium.

“I still feel OK in China. But I have lost my starting place in the Belgian national side,” he added.

“This can happen with a team of their quality.

“With the level of competition there will always be times when you don’t get to play a lot.”

Arsenal have also been linked with moves for Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic, as well as Paris Saint-Germain’s Christopher Nkunku.

The club are believed to be searching for a long-term replacement for Hector Bellerin at right-back, who is expected to be sidelined with an ACL injury until the beginning of next season.

Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka is the front-runner to become Arsenal’s next right-back but they also have Ainsley Maitland-Niles who will be desperate to prove his worth at the Emirates.

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Video: Leroy Sane helps Germany to victory over Netherlands

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Germany beat Netherlands 2-3 in a Euro 2020 qualifier in Amsterdam last night. Goals from Manchester City’s Leroy Sane and Bayern…

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Liverpool ace Virgil van Dijk TROLLED – ‘Arsenal reject just ended best defender in world'

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Holland lost 3-2 to Germany in Euro 2020 qualifying with Nico Schulz netting a 90th minute winner.

But before that Bayern Munich winger Gnabry scored in the first half.

The 23-year-old cut in from the left hand side, evaded Van Dijk and curled home for Germany.

And fans were quick to criticise the Liverpool ace on Twitter.

One said: “Let me caption this better for you ”Former Arsenal reject Serge Gnabry just ended best defender in the world” Van Dijk.”

Another added: “So Arsenal had Gnabry and sold him. Man had Van Dijk on strings today.”

A third explained: “Serge Gnabry made Van Dijk look silly last night and being an Arsenal fan that’s upset me.”

Van Dijk has been imperious for Liverpool this season, helping them to a Premier League title challenge and the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

He has made 38 appearances across the two competitions and impressed in the heart of the defence.

Van Dijk also has four goals and three assists for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

And the Liverpool ace had more luck against Gnabry in the Champions League as the Reds knocked out Bayern Munich.

Klopp’s side return to action after the international break against Tottenham on Sunday at Anfield in the Premier League (4.30pm).

Liverpool are currently two points clear of Manchester City but have played one more game.

Van Dijk believes winning the Premier League this season would be ‘something special’.

“Would I sooner win the Premier League or Champions League? I can’t choose,” he told the Premier League Show.

“But the Premier League would be something special.

“This year, because the race is so tight it says a lot about the quality of our team if we do it.

“If not, then we should keep our heads high and try again, but that’s something we’re not focusing on right now.”

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