Fourth Not Secured Yet

Arsenal’s next Barclays Premier League fixture is an away match against Queens Park Rangers and many pundits have the Gunners as the favourites to win that encounter. The Gunners, who seemed destined for Europa League football until February, have put together a run of seven consecutive wins in the last two months and now find themselves in top of the bookies’ soccer picks to clinch the third spot on the league table.
Since their February 4 match against the Blackburn Rovers, coach Arsene Wenger’s men have scored 22 goals and conceded just six, which suggests that they are dominating their opponents at both ends of the field.

Arsenal have faced a lot of criticism this season for their overreliance on their captain Robin van Persie, who has scored 26 of his team’s 61 league goals. But their recent goal distribution indicates that they might not be a one man team anymore and while the Dutchman certainly is the most important Gunner at the moment, there are others who can chip in as well when needed.

A striker’s scoring drought is normally considered a bad thing in football but such has been van Persie’s influence on his team that his two-match barren run is being taken as a positive sign for the club. He last scored against Newcastle United on April 12 and while he went missing in the next two matches, his teammates stepped up to fulfil the goal scoring needs of Arsenal.

The Gunners now have three more points and a better goal difference than the Spurs, their most immediate rival for the third position. Unlike their opponents, they also don’t have any Cup distractions and all of these signs suggest that at least Champions League football is guaranteed for Arsenal next season.

But Arsenal’s Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta has refused to relax just yet and warned his teammates that the remaining eight matches of their season aren’t easy at all and they can still miss out on even the fourth place if they aren’t careful.

Speaking in an interview with Arsenal Player, Arteta said: “If anyone thinks it’s all done now, then they are making a big mistake. We can’t take our foot off the pedal now. We have won seven in a row now, which is very difficult in the Premier League nowadays, and we have done it well, playing some high-tempo football, but there are some tough, tough games coming up in our last eight matches.”

The only game of any major difficulty that Spurs have left to play is their April 7 trip to the Stadium of Light where they will lock horns with Sunderland. On the other hand, Arsenal not only have to host both Manchester City and Chelsea, but they also have to face Stoke City at Britannia, which is no easy task (just ask the Sky Blues).

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