Arsenal took another step toward Champions League qualification this past weekend, and now one of the club's former managers says the Gunners are favorites for a top-four Premier League finish.
Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky scored both goals as Arsenal won 2-1 at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday despite playing the final 20 minutes a man down. Defender Per Mertesacker received a red card for a foul in the box in the 70th minute, but Arsenal held off West Brom's late push and benefited from a miss by Romelu Lukaku.
The result briefly put Arsenal in fourth place, but after Chelsea beat Sunderland and Tottenham Hotspur drew with Everton, the Gunners fell back into fifth. Hope remains, however, with Arsenal trailing both teams by only two points. Both Chelsea and Arsenal have a game in hand on Spurs.
For George Graham, who led Arsenal to two First Division titles, the Gunners are in good position. Speaking to the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show on talkSPORT, Graham said he thinks Arsenal will finish in the top four.
I fancy Arsenal (to finish in the top four). I didn’t earlier in the season but now they’re favourites and could maybe even end up third. Tottenham have been outstanding this season. In the games I saw them play earlier this season I thought they would definitely be in the top four, but if you look at the fixture list they have got a very, very hard run-in. Arsenal’s only real tough game is away at Manchester United.
Graham isn't quite right about the fixture list, but he probably has a point. The match against United is at the Emirates on April 28, but the rest of Arsenal's run-in is indeed relatively manageable.
Arsenal host Norwich on Saturday before another home game with Everton next Tuesday. Then Arsene Wenger's side face a trip to Fulham before matches against Manchester United (home), QPR (away), Wigan (home) and Newcastle.
The question is whether or not that's any easier or more difficult than Tottenham's schedule. Spurs host Manchester City on April 21 and finish the season with trips to Wigan and Stoke, and home games against Southampton and Sunderland.
What do you think, readers? Rosicky, Saturday's hero, said last month's loss at Tottenham showed Arsenal what they needed to fix (via ESPN FC). Since then, the Gunners have beaten Bayern Munich in the Champions League and won three straight in the league.
Will they have enough to qualify for the Champions League a 16th straight time? Vote in the poll and let us know what you think in the comments.
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