Football

Has Mikel Arteta handed Spurs the final Champions League spot?

Arsenal have slipped up in the race for fourth after losing heavily at Crystal Palace. Mikel Arteta saw his side lose 3-0 to the Eagles on Monday night.

It was a shock defeat for the north London outfit. They failed to get going from the start, but all credit must go to the hosts for their fantastic display.

Patrick Vieira’s side were on form right from the off. They capitalised on Arsenal’s mistakes, as well as creating chances for themselves via their talented attackers.

Jean-Philippe Mateta opened the scoring after 16 minutes, with Jordan Ayew doubling their lead just eight minutes later. Wilfried Zaha then completed the rout from the spot in the 74th minute.

The defeat means Arsenal are now fifth in the standings. They are level on points with rivals Tottenham Hotspur, but Antonio Conte’s men have a better goal difference.

The race for fourth is far from over, but Spurs could now be in control of the precious Champions League spot. 

Of course, third place shouldn’t be ruled out. But despite a slip up against Brentford, Chelsea will still like their chances of finishing in the top three. It leaves fourth spot to be contested.

Arteta

Has Arteta handed Champions League football to Spurs?

While Arsenal may be making headlines for their revival this season, Spurs must also be handed huge credit for their upturn in form. Conte has done a sensational job in the dugout. The Italian finally looks at home after a tricky period.

Spurs are flying high at the moment, with three wins from their last three matches. Moreover, they’ve scored 10 goals from those three games. And they’ve conceded just twice.

Harry Kane has been crucial to such form. He boasts seven goals in his last eight league matches. He’s also provided four assists in that time. The striker, along with Son Heung-min, could drive Spurs into the all-important fourth spot.

As if Arteta needed further reason to worry, Arsenal’s run-in over the next few weeks is not so favourable. The Gunners still need to play Chelsea and Manchester United.

There is also the small matter of the North London Derby in May. That fixture could be crucial in deciding who takes the final Champions League spot.

Will the race for fourth go down to the wire?

Of course, Arsenal and Spurs aren’t the only two sides competing for fourth. Both Man Utd and West Ham are just three points off the two north London sides. And Wolves are just two points behind them.

The Hammers have failed to find consistency in the league lately. But their superb Europa League run may be the cause of this. Whether David Moyes opts to prioritise one competition over the other remains to be seen.

The lack of European football for Man Utd meanwhile will most certainly help Ralf Rangnick in his quest for fourth. Aside from the Manchester Derby defeat to Man City, the Red Devils are enjoying a lengthy unbeaten run in the league.

About the author

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Peter Lynch

Sports Journalism graduate from the University of Stirling, huge Liverpool and Northern Ireland fan, currently working as a freelancer.

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