Paul Merson has made the bold claim that Arsenal will finish in the Champions League places this season if they win their next two home games against Brentford and Wolves.
While he doesn’t think those two fixtures in themselves will be enough, he feels the easy run-in they have after the next international break makes them red-hot favourites to clinch fourth ahead of the likes of West Ham, Manchester United and Spurs :
“Arsenal have a massive chance to qualify for the Champions League again this season. A massive chance. If Arsenal win their next two games they will 100 per cent finish in the top four. As simple as that – because their fixtures after that are mindblowing. Out of all the clubs they have the kindest fixtures. They’ve got two home games now against Brentford and Wolves, who they just beat with ten men. They play once a week because they’re not in Europe. They’re not in the FA Cup. They don’t have to play Manchester City again. I think they’ve got every chance.”
It’s a surprisingly confident statement from Merson, considering he was scathing about the Gunners after the club’s very poor start to the season. He is right to point out that, as they are not playing in any other competition, they should be the freshest going into the final few months of the campaign.
However, matches are not won on paper. A relatively kind schedule doesn’t guarantee points, and it will be up to Mikel Arteta’s side to step up to the plate and put in the performances expected of them.