The battle for the Premier League’s Top Four is extremely fierce between Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United. The four teams are currently only separated by four points, making it very difficult for punters to decide who to bet on.
However, our tip is to bet on the chances of Arsenal who are still likely candidates to finish in the Top Four despite their slip ups against Palace and Wolves. Crucially, Arsenal will be relying on an out-of-form Manchester United to beat Chelsea on Sunday.
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1- Arsenal’s squad
Arsenal’s squad is certainly not deficient with the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil playing for them. These players are capable of playing crucial roles for the Gunners’ victories (providing they’re all fit and can step up to the mark).
In Aubameyang and Lacazette, the Gunners have a lethal forward partnership now. Aubameyang, who lost his scoring boots in the mid-season, is firing again with the Gabonese international taking his goals tally to nineteen. While his partner Lacazette is also playing a significant role in Arsenal’s victories with 13 goals and 8 assists to his name so far. In midfield, Granit Xhaka and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are also giving very promising performances which are increasing the collective sense of optimism at Arsenal.
Unai Emery came under some criticism after their unbeaten streak ended and they started giving very indifferent performances. However, the Gunners still have silverware and a top four finish to fight for after a series of good results both in the Premier League and the Europa League.
2- A favorable run-in
Arsenal is in contention with Tottenham, Manchester United and Chelsea for the Top 4 spots. Therefore, Arsenal’s Champions League qualification will not only depend on their own performances but the performances of these other teams. Compared with these teams, Arsenal definitely has an edge in terms of a favorable run-in.
Manchester United have to face Manchester City and Chelsea in their remaining fixtures. Manchester City is in fierce competition with Liverpool for the Premier League title, therefore their motivation will be sky-high to not drop points against United. Chelsea and United will also lock horns with each other which will again play to the advantage of Arsenal. While Tottenham has three home matches against Everton, West Ham, and Brighton along with the away fixture at Bournemouth. With the pressure to do well domestically while also competing at the European front, we can’t expect Spurs to grab all the points from their remaining matches.
Unai Emery’s side does not have to play any of the opponents from the Top 6, and their remaining matches are against Wolves, Leicester City, Brighton, and Burnley. These opponents are quite capable of beating the Gunners, but it looks unlikely that Arsenal will drop so many points as to find themselves outside the Top 4 by the end of the season.
3- Recent performances
Arsenal has been suffering slip-ups and setbacks every now and then, most recently against Crystal Palace but the overall performances have been very positive for them. After the defeat against Rennes in the first leg of the Europa League, Arsenal has secured several vital victories to steady their ship.
Against Manchester United, Arsenal brilliantly took control of the match early and never let that control slip to register an easy victory in the end. This was followed by another solid performance against the French side Rennes in which they easily turned around the two goals deficit. The Gunners got two quick-fire goals through Aubameyang and Maitland-Niles with the Gabonese international again striking to ease through to the next Europa League round. Since then, they have gotten victories against Newcastle, Napoli, and Watford.
Apart from the last two games, Arsenal have recently been able to keep things uncharacteristically tight at the back. Defensive solidity will be very important for them if they hope to secure Champions League positions by the end of the season. Comparatively, Manchester United’s rearguard is in shambles while Chelsea has not been doing well either.
Of the four teams in the mini-league, Arsenal and Tottenham are looking the likely sides to secure European football for the next season. But, crucially, Arsenal will be relying on an out-of-form Manchester United to beat Chelsea on Sunday.