Ex-Arsenal striker Ian Wright says he is sticking with his prediction that Manchester United will beat his former club to finish in the top four this season.
The Gunners are just two points behind United with three games in hand, but Wright is adamant that the Red Devils will be the team to beat during the run-in:
“The fact is that I said that I fancied Manchester United to come fourth because Manchester United have got the firepower to do it. I’m not going to put pressure on Arsenal and this young team who I said at the start of the season I would be delighted if they could get into the top six – and nothing has changed. I’m hearing ex-players and people saying ‘that’s where Arsenal should be’ and with everything that Arsenal have done since [Arsene] Wenger to this point, Mikel is the only one that has come in and actually got the ship back on course. He’s got a young team, they’ve done a lot of sorting out and I for one am not going to the person that’s there saying: ‘Arsenal should be fourth!’”
“If Arsenal got fourth I would be ecstatic, but Arsenal are on the right path. That is why you will not hear me saying Arsenal are going to finish fourth and why I’d say Manchester United would. It’s not just because I don’t want to put pressure on, it’s that I genuinely believe Manchester United, at any stage, can click into gear because of the personnel that they have. With Arsenal, we couldn’t finish off Burnley, we dug in there and beat Wolves at the end. But Manchester United with the amount of chances they’re making, the fact they’ve got so many match-winners is why I said that and I’m not going to change that.”
Wright is correct in saying that the inexperience in Arsenal’s squad could count against them, while there is a case to be made that United could click into gear during the final few months of the campaign.
Whatever happens, though, it is great to see the Gunners back in the conversation for Champions League qualification. After a terrible start to the season, which left many questioning the future of manager Mikel Arteta, there has been a sharp turnaround in fortunes.
If they can end the campaign in fourth spot, though, it would be a tremendous achievement and they have put themselves in a great position with 14 games remaining.