The fight for Champions League football is still on for teams who sit outside of the top-four spots. Arsenal is one of them and Mikel Arteta believes his team can still land one of them.
Mikel Arteta had strong words of encouragement for his squad during Wednesday’s press conference knowing the battle for European football next season will go down to the wire. Only 10 points separate fourth-placed West Ham and 11th-placed Leeds United.
Just above the Whites of Elland Road are the Spaniard and his Gunners on 37 points, eight adrift from the Hammers. The boss knows the point-gap can easily be reduced with them having 12 games left and 36 points to play for.
Mikel Arteta’s words of optimism when asked about their top-4 hopes:
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The aim is to go on and beat Burnley. We have been chasing [a top-four place] for a while but it is not in our hands, the only thing we can control is our own results and performances. We are fully determined to do that better than what we have done in the past eight months.
Of course there is [talk among the players of the top four] because that’s the aim and that is where we want to take the club back to. We’ve been out of it for the last few seasons but our eyes are always there.
It’s true that it doesn’t depend on us and when that happens we have to rely on other people and that’s never good so we’ve got to do what we have to do first.
Then, I’m sure if we do what we have to do, we’ll be in a much better position to see where we are with the last four or five games. (Via: arsenal.com)
Arsenal needs to be consistent to achieve Champions League football
The manager knows they can only control their own results. Although, what gives teams outside of the European spots hope is how unpredictable the league has been and how easy teams have been dropping points all-round, and all season long.
Arsenal beating Leicester City 1-3 at the King Power Stadium over the weekend past was a step in the right direction but more than a win every second or third game is needed – the problem they’ve been facing is inconsistency.
Prior to the Foxes victory was a loss to Manchester City. Before the loss to the league leaders, a win over Leeds. Before that, back-to-back losses to Aston Villa and Wolves. Points have to be picked up more regularly if they are to try and reach this season’s target.
They have Burnley up next and then a crucial North London derby after. Following, another London derby against West Ham, and then they host Liverpool. These next four will undoubtedly define their season. Three of the teams in this lineup of fixtures sit above them and are fighting for the same places.
Maximum points are a must for Arsenal now and for the rest of the campaign. They must win, at least, three of their next four Premier League encounters. This plus their other avenue to Champions League football is still open.
Their next comes against Olympiacos, who knocked them out in last season’s Europa League round of 32. He will have to priorities and decide what will be Arsenal’s best route to next term’s top-club tournament.