It has been a while since Arsenal were last this close to achieving a top-four finish in the Premier League as they currently trail fourth-placed West Ham by a single point.
In fact, the latest odds with Betway sports betting and other bookmakers put Arsenal as the favourites to qualify for the Champions League for next season, especially given the topsy-turvy form of their closest rivals.
With two games in hand on David Moyes’ side, the Gunners are in firm control of their Champions League hopes heading into the crunch period of the season.
Gabriel Magalhaes fired the London outfit to Thursday’s hard-earned 1-0 victory away to Wolverhampton, helping his side register their first win in 2022.
After postponed matches against Wolves and Tottenham earlier this season, Mikel Arteta’s side will face a hectic schedule in the coming weeks.
But without the distraction of European football, Arsenal can turn their undivided attention towards securing their first top-four finish since the 2015/16 season.
Five sides currently boast realistic chances of reaching a coveted fourth place, meaning each triumph could prove crucial in the keenly-contested run-in.
Arsenal’s games in hand could be particularly vital as they are both set to come against direct top-four rivals, including a rematch against Wolves in the nation’s capital.
Home game against Wolves
Even though they squeezed past Bruno Lage’s side in their most recent Premier League outing, the Gunners can ill-afford to rest on their laurels going into the return fixture.
Arsenal have failed to beat Wolves in any of their last four top-flight encounters at the Emirates, including a 2-1 defeat in this exact fixture back in 2020/21.
Last Thursday’s reverse was a setback in the Wanderers’ pursuit of their first-ever top-four Premier League finish, but their away form is nothing short of impressive.
They have won their last four league matches on the road, including a 1-0 triumph over Manchester United at Old Trafford and a 3-2 win over Tottenham on the weekend, showing they mean business this term.
So the West Midlands side will travel to London in high spirits in the next midweek Arsenal fixture, knowing a potential success would drastically improve their chances in the Champions League qualification race.
Likewise, Arsenal could kill two birds with one stone with a win, as it would bolster their position in the league table and potentially eliminate Wolves in the process.
Trip to Tottenham
Memories of a 3-1 triumph in the reverse fixture at the Emirates are still fresh, but the Gunners must be aware of Tottenham’s renaissance under Antonio Conte.
Spurs may have lost their last three Premier League games, but their noticeable upturn in form since parting with Nuno Espirito Santo should not be underestimated.
Harry Kane and co went unbeaten in nine consecutive league matches before the abovementioned back-to-back defeats, growing into genuine top-four contenders again.
Chelsea and Southampton have shown Arsenal that Tottenham are not as indestructible as they may have looked at the start of Conte’s reign, giving Arteta’s team a recipe to overcome cross-town rivals.
But after going winless in their last seven Premier League visits to Spurs, the Gunners will have to be at their very best if they are to defy their disappointing H2H away record against the Lillywhites of late.
Tottenham are just three points behind Arsenal and a defeat in this heavyweight North London derby could prove detrimental to Arteta’s hopes of becoming the first Gunners boss since Arsene Wenger to reach Champions League football.