Exclusive – Michael Thomas talks about Arsenal’s squad and race for Top Four

The Wolves win was immense in the race for Top Four. In fact, both results against Wolves were much needed. For squad belief and to keep the top four push alive with all the teams in and around us dropping points. Arsenal have been very good at home and I expect them to win the majority of their home games left, and picking up points away from home is vital as we know the likes of Chelsea, United, etc, will also be picking up points to cement themselves in the top four. After the two wins against Wolves the team should make sure their fight is the same in every game upcoming.

I must say Pepe’s goal was excellent and he is a really good player when the team is dominating the ball. He is very direct and causes opposition defenders to make mistakes. He has a goal in him but the consistency of his game needs to really improve. In saying that it is very difficult for him to get that run of games due to the form of Saka, ESR & Martinelli and Arsenal only being in 1 competition so the limited amount of games. Every game will be important in the run up to the end of the season and we will need Pepe to chip in with some goals and assist when he is on the pitch.

Perhaps he could be given a chance as centre-forward, but Lacazette is doing a very important role in the build up play, which not a lot of players bring to the team. If Laca is able to get the goal-scoring touch again then it would be of great help to the team. I do think Pepe could do a job in the position also and we saw that from the AFCON.

ESR is another one that could play more in the centre, and Arteta has mentioned playing him as a 9. He obviously knows where the goal is, but can be equally, if not more, of a threat coming in from the left side and Martinelli playing the 9 role. As a manager with top class talent at his disposal I am sure Arteta will find the best way to fit his players in, in different games and situations within the game.

But right now with only one game a week, Arteta should (barring injuries) stick to his favoured starting XI team in every single game. 100% right now it is not about sentiment, and the players should be fresh physically and mentally. It gives us an amazing opportunity to finish in the top 4 and the players will know this. The more the team play with one another the better chemistry will be formed, resulting in the best performances.

Tomiyasu’s continued absence is a worry, but Cedric has been deputizing and putting in really good performances. Saying that, I do think another young RB is a priority in the summer and I quite like Lamptey OR Spence.

Regarding the Aubameyang situation I think it was best for all parties that he had to find a new club. At Arsenal what is required right now is different to Barcelona, so his performances and off field behavior can differ. It is best that all parties and fans watching on move forward from that and we start supporting the players we have and the managers decision.

As for the Top Four race, there is still a long way to go with a lot of hard fixtures to come. Playing once a week will of course be a bonus and the club should take full advantage of that. The cliché of taking it game by game is one we hear all the time but it really is that for the team. Try and win each game as they come and in another 5-6 games you will see how the table is looking coming to the closing stage of the season.

Some fans are saying that Arteta should not get a contract extension unless we finish in the Top Four, but, to be honest, I would like to see him carry on what he has started. I am a big fan of the way he is running the club and making the top 4 would be the cherry on top. He has an extremely young squad and the club I think would have settled for Europa at the start of the season. Given all the other clubs’ results I think it would be silly not to aim for the Champions League.

But reaching Europe would also create new problems and Arteta will certainly need a much bigger squad. The demands are very high when you are competing and trying to win all the top competitions. I think to go straight into our starting 11 we would need a CM, ST and Winger. After that I would say 3-4 quality players to fight for each spot but this also depends on the outgoings.

It’s great that after our awful start to the season, we still have something to aim for at this stage. Long may it continue!

Michael Thomas

Just Arsenal Show – Dan Smith discusses Arsenal’s chances of finishing in the Top Four

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  1. We will probably finish in top four cause one team now knows we’re it’s going and they are all playing with love and all there strength am an arsenal fun so believe me or not we will end it i love you all.

  2. Pepe was very consistent towards the end of last season and yet he is not given enough games now and you expect him to be consistent?

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