The Gunners have been something of a surprise package under Unai Emery this season after the Spanish head coach took over the reins from Arsene Wenger in the summer.
Emery wasted no time leaving his mark on the Gunners squad and revamped his playing options with the addition of five new signings ahead of the new Premier League season.
The former Sevilla and Valencia head coach made an underwhelming start to his Gunners career after Arsenal lost to Manchester City and Chelsea FC in successive games in August.
Arsenal bounced back with seven victories in a row to hoist themselves up to fourth place in the Premier League table before the Gunners drew 2-2 with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park last weekend.
Tottenham are a point behind Arsenal but problems over the opening of their new stadium have left a dark cloud hanging over the north London side.
Manchester United, on the other hand, have struggled to find consistency and their defensive problems have resulted in three losses in 10 games in the Premier League.
Former Arsenal playmaker Nicholas believes the Gunners will secure the final Champions League qualification spot in the Premier League table this season.
“Arsenal have been a pleasant surprise for me this season – Liverpool and Spurs have had their best starts to a season but Arsenal are right up there with them under the new manager so, being an Arsenal man, I’ll go with them to edge out Spurs for fourth place due to the lack of signings Mauricio Pochettino has made,” Nicholas told Sky Sports.
“As I’ve said for a while now, Manchester United are way off the pace.”
Arsenal signed Juventus veteran Stephan Lichtsteiner, Borussia Dortmund defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Lorient starlet Matteo Guendouzi, Sampdoria midfielder Lucas Torreira and Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno in the summer transfer window.
The Gunners allowed Jack Wilshere to move to West Ham to signal that Emery was ready to stamp his authority on the Emirates Stadium outfit.
Santi Cazorla and Lucas Perez were other big name departures at Arsenal despite the appointment of the Spanish head coach as Wenger’s successor.
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