My Arsenal v Manchester United preview spoke about how the result could make or break our challenge for a top 4 place.
The 2-0 victory leaves it very much in Arsenal’s hands to finish top 4.
Prior to the weekend, very few would have thought that Tottenham would have lost to Southampton and Chelsea would have got just 1 point at home to Wolves. But that is what happened.
Prior to the weekend, Chelsea’s game in hand made me fearful. A win would put them 2 points ahead of Arsenal.
Had Arsenal then lost yesterday against Manchester United, it would have left top 4 out of our hands. We would have needed Manchester United to drop 4 more points & Chelsea to drop 3 more points than us in the last 8 games. It would have been an uphill struggle.
But we won, Manchester United lost and Chelsea drew. Also Tottenham lost to Southampton which drags them back into it.
Instead of it being 3 teams fighting for 1 spot and Arsenal being the bottom of those 3, it is now 4 teams fighting for 2 spots and Arsenal have to be favourites.
Even if Chelsea win their game in hand, Arsenal are still 4th. There would be just 3 points covering 3rd to 6th.
The wheels are coming off Tottenham.
Just over 2 weeks ago they were 10 points ahead of Arsenal. They could fall out of the top 4 next weekend if they fail to get a result away to Liverpool.
They are without a win in 4 games, and their only point came courtesy of a 90th minute missed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang penalty.
With games against Liverpool and Manchester City to come and tough home games against West Ham, Everton & Crystal Palace to come, it is hard to see Tottenham getting more than 15 points. That would leave them on 76.
Manchester United are still to face Manchester City and Chelsea at home.
They were on a great run under Ole without really playing a top team. Like Arsenal’s 22 game unbeaten run, it will be interesting to see how they respond. Like Tottenham, they will probably not be too far from the 76 point mark.
Chelsea have the trickiest of run ins, although they do have a game in hand.
They will do well to get points from trips to Manchester United and Liverpool, and also have tricky trips to Leicester and Everton.
Their draw at home to Wolves shows how fragile they are. I think they will struggle to make the 75 point mark.
So that will make it around 75-76 points to finish in the top 4.
Only once in the history of the Premier League has a team amassed 75 points and not made the top 4 – Arsenal in 2016/17.
To put that into perspective, Arsenal finished 2nd the season before with just 71 points.
Arsenal need 15-16 points to finish top 4.
My feeling is 76 will be enough for 4th. Anything above will be enough for 3rd.
The issue Arsenal face is we only have 3 home games left – Newcastle, Crystal Palace & Brighton. We need 9 points from those 9 games.
We have dropped just 7 points at home in the league this season – 5 of which were to Liverpool and Manchester City. It is not unreasonable to expect Arsenal to win all 3 of those games.
It is the 5 away games that will be key.
Arsenal are 9th in the Premier League away table with just 5 wins from 14 games. Although it has to be taken into account that 5 of the 14 away games were against sides in the top 6.
If you take games against the other top sides out of it, our away form reads a lot more favourable:
P 9 W 5 D 2 L 2 Pts 17
If we mimic this form in the 5 remaining away games we should get 9 points. If we add the 9 points from 3 home wins, that would leave us with 78 points in total.
From those 5 games, even if we end with 2 wins and 1 draw, that takes us to 76 points as long as we win those home games.
Ultimately it is winning those home games that is important. Do that and top 4 is ours. Maybe even 3rd.