Arsene Wenger might be saying that Arsenal are still fighting for the Premier League title, but who really believes him? We do still have a chance of catching and finishing above our north London rivals Tottenham, which would be nice but not really all that important in the grand scheme of things other than keeping our long held bragging rights over the spuds.
The actual benefit of finishing second instead of third is just a bit of money as apart from the actual champions, the other clubs in the Champions League are seeded according to their individual UEFA coefficient. The fourth placed club has to play a home and away qualifier at the beginning of next season and the Gunners could do without that, for the stress levels, the two extra matches and of course the chance of not qualifying for the group stage.
However, Arsenal are not yet guaranteed to finish in the top four, especially after the fifth placed team Man United and their under pressure manager Louis van Gaal got a timely boost with an FA cup replay win at West Ham last night and a semi-final against Everton at Wembley nine days from now.
United are just six points behind Arsenal and we both have six games to play. One of ours is away to Man City who are themselves fighting for a top four spot and we could easily lose that match. Is it really hard to imagine us losing one more game of the five against Crystal Palace this weekend, West Brom, Sunderland, Norwich and Aston Villa?
You would normally expect Arsenal to win those but after the disappointments of this season I am far from certain now. United’s next two games are at home to Villa and Palace and then they have the cup semi. Win those three and they will be on a roll and if Arsenal have dropped any more points they will be right on our tails and we have seen how well (or not) we cope with pressure.
So I think we cannot afford to not win both of our next two games. Do that and we will definitely have a place in the Champions League next season. How secure do you think our UCL place is?