Why Arsenal will finish in the top 4

May 15, 2004. The greatest day in the history of Arsenal Football Club. Played 38. Win 26. Draw 12. Loss 0. Arsenal had done what no other team had done in Premier League history – go the entire season unbeaten. The Invincibles would go on to remain undefeated for a record 49 games before a controversial loss to Manchester United the following season put an end to what was perhaps the most dominant period in English football history.

18 years on, and Arsenal are in a different race. Since winning the league title in 2004, Arsenal have not lifted the coveted trophy but are now in a familiar race – fight for the Champions League places, loosely translated as the Top 4 race. Mikel Arteta, the Arsenal manager currently divides opinion among the Arsenal faithful and other football stakeholders of, but he looks like a top manager in the making if Arsenal will give him time to build the team as he wants.

Arsenal are currently on 36 points from 21 games, with 1 and 2 games in hand on nearest rivals, Manchester United and West Ham United, but The Gunners will beat the two teams to the coveted fourth-placed finish, with Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea seemingly wrapping up the first 3 places among them. In the last 5 league matches, Arsenal have picked up 10 points, with only Manchester City and Wolves picking up more points in the same period.

In contrast to their rivals, Arsenal have no domestic cup competition to worry about. A disappointing loss to Nottingham Forest was accompanied by a damaging second-leg collapse at The Emirates in the Carabao Cup semifinals against Liverpool despite an encouraging goalless draw at Anfield. While the prospect of no domestic trophy is never pleasing to the fans, it might be a blessing in disguise. This means Mikel Arteta can place his entire team’s focus on finishing as high up in the league, a luxury other top 4 rivals don’t have.

Under Arteta, there have been visible signs of progress. He is slowly moulding the team in his way, signing players he wants and passing across his style to his players, though results can be frustratingly inconsistent. Their next three games, against Wolves, Brentford, and Leicester City, are crucial and can change the course of their season. They have struggled with goals in recent weeks, although the manager has concerns with former club captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, both men would likely take the club over any personal squabbles they might have.

With a core of a very young team, Arsenal have a strong team that can go on a run of positive runs that can destabilize their top 4 rivals. United are very inconsistent, West Ham don’t have the squad depth, and Tottenham under Conte show that they can also falter when it matters most. Arsenal have it in their hands, and if they don’t take it, they’d blame themselves as the odds on online casino games australia show they have high prospect to clinch a spot in the first quartet of the table.

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