It’s a tough ask for Arsenal to grab a spot in the Champions League next season. But, says Gunners head coach Mikel Arteta, snatching a place in the elite European football competition no longer looks an entirely impossible task
Yes, Arteta’s men are definitely outsiders. Yet they have made great strides under the former Manchester City No.2 and if they can maintain a winning run there is a real chance they can figure in the shake-up.
Last time out in the Premier League Arsenal chalked up a 3-2 win over Everton at the Emirates Stadium and this followed a 4-0 victory over Newcastle United. It means the north London giants are in 10th spot with 37 points from 27 games. But, for instance, they have a game in hand over Chelsea in fourth place and if they were to win that they would be just five points adrift of the Blues.
Arteta knows full well that to be in with the slenderest chance of being in and around the top four, a triumph over lowly West Ham United at home tomorrow is vital. David Moyes’ men arrive at the Emirates having secured a win last time of asking with a victory over Southampton at the London Stadium — so will take confidence from that game into the clash with their London neighbours.
In between, Arsenal put Portsmouth to the sword on Monday night with a 2-0 FA Cup fifth round win at Fratton Park and as a result will now go to Bramall Lane to go head to head with Sheffield United in a quarter-final clash.
Yet it is the Premier League up next and Arteta knows his team face a tough test against the Hammers. Speaking to reporters ahead of the game, he said:
“Beat West Ham on Saturday and we are closer. That’s all I am thinking because a few weeks ago it looked impossible and if we beat West Ham it will look more likely. So that’s the only aim.”
He adds that If game-by-game Arsenal go and start grabbing
“three points and three points and three points, and then we’ll have a chance in the last three or four games of the season”.
Meanwhile, Arteta is seemingly keeping his cards close to his chest when it comes to talk of whether or not he will sign Dani Ceballos permanently following the midfielder’s loan until the end of the season from Real Madrid.
He told the club’s official website:
“We haven’t had any discussions about it. I’m happy with Dani and what he’s bringing to the team right now. It took him a while after his injury to get to the level that he has and that I’ve seen in the past. He’s performing much better now and that’s why he’s playing much more games.”