Top Four really is Arsenal’s to lose now

I wrote about the result at Villa Park being possibly a huge one mentally for Arsenal’s young squad.

Lose after the Liverpool defeat and our ability to handle pressure would be questioned. Win and we could go on the international break with some breathing space in the race for 4th.

I think now it’s fair to say that Champions League qualification is ours to throw away.

The highest points Spurs can finish on this season is 78, Man United 77, West Ham 72.

Arsenal’s biggest total is a possible 84.

That means the Gunners, while still with tough fixtures to come, are not in a must-win situation every week unlike their rivals.

The assumption was, out of the clubs named above, was that whoever put a consistent run together would take 4th.

It’s becoming apparent that we might not be put under the pressure I imagined.

In terms of fire power, Spurs and United have better options then us, but you don’t know which version shows up every week .

I can’t see either putting the winning sequence together to put us under threat.

We still have to go the Lane, the Bridge, London Stadium and welcome United to the Emirates, so it’s possible we will drop points but then does anyone take advantage of us.

If no one does that’s not the Gunners fault.

They have quietly ground out wins which have been more about Arteta’s micromanagement then any one individual.

While you can’t ignore the goals Aubeyang is scoring in Spain, our manager clearly has an ethos of not wanting a star name but a team who buy into his vision.

I have always said that if the Spaniard reduces our wage bill in January but still takes us back to the CL without a prolific forward, I will applaud him.

The 1-0 win on Saturday was like our victory at Wolves.

We now can fight away from home and are prepared to try and protect a 1-0 lead.

If you grew up on Arsene Wenger, you were used to bodies flying forward no matter the scoreline.

Of course, we want to play that style again but maybe that was naive in Mr Wenger’s last few years?

Maybe Arteta has realised the sport has adapted and other details matter.

He always stressed that fixing us defensively would be the priority.

I always worried that once we got to squeaky bum time our lack of leadership would cost us. Yet you only get that leadership by winning games like Villa away.

That’s why our coaching staff punched the air.

They know it could be psychologically huge!

Is 4th our to lose?

Dan Smith

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  1. We could say so because we’re leading the fourth place race, despite having more difficult fixtures than our rivals’

    We can only achieve that goal if Lacazette and Partey remain fit till the end of the season, because I don’t think the other Gunners can play their roles consistently

    1. I fear Tottenham will overtake us soon. They have better forwards. One slip and the pressure is on. Hopefully they will lose games as well.

        1. I watched Spuds against Westham and I feel they will find it more difficult against Arsenal. Westham lacked pace and has no players that could hold the ball like Saka, ESR and Matinelli but still managed to score Spuds. But Spuds attack can be d difference in any game the have leathal CF.

      1. Really? Why? If spurs win every single game we can sill afford two losses to stay in front. Be confident young man …

        1. Trust me Pat I am a Arsenal optimist I only stated the obvious. There will always be twist in football. One thing I am sure of is that Arsenal will play in Europe next season “the how” is what I can’t say

          1. Yep I agree, we can’t be sure until at least another 5 or 6 games have passed.
            But right now I am very optimistic…

    2. Gai, let’s say Pathey, Lacazette, and Gabriel Mangahaes and Matinelli are ireplaceable.. There is an energy that Matinelli brings to the team that top coach like klopp noticed especially when we play big teams. For top4 or Top6 let’s hope injuries don’t distrupt our good form. From what I have seen given to players on the bench apart from ESR I have not been super impressed. I may be wrong though.

  2. Still a long way to go!
    10 matches left to play, including as mentioned by Dan Spurs, ManU, Chelsea and West Ham. We are only 3 quarters through with a couple of points ahead of our top four rivals.

    The team’s been performing really well though and it’s encouraging to see how united and committed they look on the pitch despite being thin in numbers.

    I really love these young guns!!!

  3. Seeing West Ham yesterday, I think its safe to say they are not a top 4 contender. I would even go as far as saying away match against them wont be as tough as we expected. They seriously regressed after Bowen got injured.

    1. I don’t think they’ve been as bad as I was expecting after losing Bowen, although they had a major hangover after beating Sevilla on Thursday…
      Every one of our remaining games will be tough, so no room for complacency!

  4. Yeah it’s ours to loose, we are in the top 4 and everything else depends on us. Am quite impressed by the grit.onwards and upwards gunners

  5. Too early to think of that, many things might happen between now to the end of the season, I expect more twist and turns

  6. No complacency but we can make top 4 if we…

    Avoid defeat against manu and spurs..

    Then win our games. Yes, I know we will drop few points on the way but I m hoping manu and spurs drop pts too hence its essential we defeat them or at least get a draw..

    I also think spurs are the ones we should be scared of and not manu. Yes they are inconsistent but they have a decent team and a good manager that knows how to get results on odd occasions.

    Well I just want arsenal to be at the champions league next season. The goal is achievable…

  7. How come no one is talking about the message sent to us by auba this morning ‘hello from the finished player’.haha me excluded cos i never called him a prima dona.

  8. Soot on Don Smith, but a keep telling fans the Aston Villa game is one of the most important one of the season.

    Having played Pool and lost it was very important we had a reaction, that is key, think the gaffers knows it too.
    Poor Ashley Young he has long pass his best I do expect him to be a little on the miserable side.

    That victory provide us a perfect time to reset
    .Palace is going to give us a very good match because of how they play and the history.

    Palace is comfortable in mid table and is under know pressure, so they will be playing free flow football.
    We should edge this one 3- 1 one the dust settle

  9. 6 wins
    3 draw and we can afford to lose 1 gets us 75 and home
    If the spuds or Manure will all remaining 9 then we will have to step it up a d win 8, lose 1 draw 1
    GAI the will lose 1 so no fears on that front
    It is ours to lose but you know what . To date the team and manager has done us proud so I have every faith in them to bring I home
    Onwards and upwards

  10. Well Dan, though this may well surprise you, I am glad to see any fan, meaning you in this case ,come over to the light side from the dark side. Better late than never !

  11. Surely, haven come thus far in the top4 race this season to currently be on 4th in the table. With the countdown from 1 to zero games for Arsenal starting at Selhurst Park when Arsenal face Crystal Palace in a daunting away match after the ongoing international break has finished.

    But However the match could look to be daunting for Arsenal to play and win it. The Gunners will not because Patrick Viera the former Arsenal captain who is now the Eagles manager and who might love to throw a spaner in the works for Arsenal so as to slow them down in their top4 flight by instructing his Eagles team to play to another draw game as it has happened at Ems in his first visit there as the manager of the Eagles.

    But nevertheless, Arsenal will this time around find a way in the match to beat Crystal Palace and beat them to further consolidate their hold on the top4. For, the Gunners can ill-afford not to keep holding on to the top4 that they’ve worked so hard this season to be holding it. And they can even improved on it by challenging Chelsea to the 3rd place finish this season.

    All the talks of Tottenham Hs, Manchester United and west Ham likelihood of posing a threat to Arsenal finishing in the top-four places this season will not see the light of the day. This is because Arsenal will beat these trio club sides when they meet them. And who are below Arsenal in the table. Just as the Gunners have been beating the clubs that are below them in recent past games this season so will the Gunners do them too. But save, when they loss at away to Everton which was a mistake committed by the Gunners. But which was a mistake that they won’t repeat till end of season.

  12. For a team aspiring to play in the Champions League next season, we probably have the right level of challenge with our outstanding fixtures.

    In the worst case that we don’t make it into the top 4, these fixtures will inform the right courses of action during the summer break and in preparation for the next round in the coming season ….

  13. I can bet with an expensive valuable that Arsenal will make the top 4. Just watch out as we grind out these results. Arsenal is not just playing Champions League football next season, but we’re having a shot at the trophy. As for the EPL next season, it’s coming to the Emirates

  14. I read the article without realising that Dan had written it. Crikey, what a pleasant change from the criticism that has been synomymous with my time on JA. So pleased, Dan, that you can see an improvement. It hasn’t been an easy ride but one that is looking fruitful with a team of players that have a different outlook from their previous senior players. Long may the sparkle and fire continue

    1. Ahh Sue, you’re so much more trusting than me. Good on you.

      I can’t help thinking that this article is just laying the fleece for another article a la the “Arteta embarrasses Arsenal” one two days ago should Arsenal now fail to make top four.

      Hope we don’t need to find out and sincerely hope I’m wrong if we do.

  15. Due to the commotion caused by our recent celebration, I had ask my son to program our tv set specifically for the Wolves and Aston Villa match.

    Was just trying to analyze and be really objective, if things may a little gone over the top.

    To my surprise, I had miss, may be some of the most beautiful scenes of the game.
    The hugging and embracing was a joy to watch, at what stage have we become so together, the bonding and compadre was on full display.

    At one stage some one pushes another to go and bond with the traveling fans.

    Thank you A Young for forcing me to catch upon on that special little act of togetherness,
    Was truly a sight to behold

  16. Hi Dan…

    I must say that your articles typically attract considerable followership, including myself, because of their often strong and highly opinionated view points, which are well supported by strong arguments, facts, logic, and flow! And I must say that all of this is a testament to your unique skills!

    Like SueP above, I am relieved to sense that your position is beginning to shift! You, like many others, cannot be blamed for your views and position, because they are based on previous records of disappointing and discouraging performances.

    The quest to predict the future and to know where Arsenal will finish in May 2022 is exciting, but ultimately futile. For the time being, I believe we can only remain humble and play each game as it comes.

    Overall, I continue to argue that the league table is merely a discretized output metric designed to assess the overall output performance of all teams competing in the EPL. Nevertheless, it is not a sufficient and exclusive measure to judge the future direction of any team, and thus it remains unsuitable to be used exclusively for future projections. And to support this fact, we can attest to the fact that the league table continues to change frantically and sporadically over the years.

    To summarize, even though we all would long to finish 4th in the least, nevertheless, I would like to encourage everyone to look more closely at the coach’s and team’s simple and basic progress in areas such as discipline, commitment, work rate, ball control, passing, positional play, and many other features and attributes. These are the more fundamental elements that typically define how well a team is progressing. As our team continues to improve on these features, I reiterate that sooner than later, the league table will reflect a surely better position for us!

    Nonetheless, it remains one game at a time!

    Dear friends, remember to always keep a positive attitude, particularly in our ailing world, which is in dire need of healing!

    Remain blessed!

  17. Not happy with these links to dybala, Arthur, hazard, coutinho, morata or even lewandowski. Lewandowski aside I cannot see anyone of them being better than our first x1 and I cannot see us being able to pay them to be substitutes.

    We have got rid of a lot of deadwood, but if we buy better than our first x1, there is going to be some unhappy players next season. Really what would be better is to replace our bench with better players and promote the best youngsters. Sure laca and xhaka could be replaced in the first x1 and if they are will probably leave. But who else is going to be happy being left out? Tomiyasu? White? Tierney? Partey? Saka?
    With Leno Elneny and Nketiah leaving and possibly Cedric Pepe and holding may be we have room to shake up the bench, but who is going to fancy playing understudy to Saka? Tomiyasu? Partey and a new no.9?

  18. If reducing the wage bill is such a priority at this club then why give out big contracts in the first place? Does this mean Arteta is now planning to get Partey’s £220K-a-week off the wage bill? Should we really be congratulating the manager for failing to generate any fees for our outgoing players bar the odd one or two? If Partey(who the club paid £45M for) leaves the club in the summer by mutual consent will we thank Arteta for lowering the wage bill? He has been largely disappointing bar the few 2 or 3 recent performances after all.

  19. hi bro i really glad to see arsenal fans gatering talking about the team we need just 7 wins and 2 darws to qualifay for ucl b/c spurs max points reach is 74 they go to lose lfc and one or two draw must be from remaining fix one will be ours

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