Sky Sports pundit predicts where Arsenal can finish this season

Alan Smith is tipping Arsenal to be one of the main contenders for a top-four finish in the Premier League this season

Mikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta (Photo: Arsenal Media)

Alan Smith is convinced that Arsenal have what it takes to finish in the Premier League’s top four this season.

The Gunners have been in decent form in the English top flight this season after initially struggling and losing their first three games of the campaign on the spin.

Arsenal have won four of their last five games in the Premier League this season to leave them fifth in the table and in with a chance of securing a return to the Champions League for next term.

The north London side have two games in hand on West Ham United, who currently occupy fourth spot and are two points ahead of the Gunners.

Meanwhile, Tottenham are two points behind the Gunners but have played two games fewer than Mikel Arteta’s men.

Former Arsenal striker Smith was particularly encouraged by the north Londoners’ performance during their 2-1 loss to Manchester City earlier in the month, despite the disappointment of the result.

And without the Gunners having to think about any European fixtures this term, Smith feels that Arsenal are well and truly in the race for a Champions League spot.

“The Gunners look firmly in the mix for that last Champions League spot, especially if they can keep up the level of performance they showed against Manchester City last time out,” Smith told Sky Sports.

“I did have my doubts about Mikel Arteta’s side. It was obvious they were improving under the Spaniard but as to whether they could clinch fourth was another matter. However, I think the Man City performance, irrespective of the result, gave every Arsenal fan and anybody involved in the club a great deal of confidence.

“Now, there’s no reason why they can’t look at that fourth place and think they are in with a great chance.

“What Arsenal will need to do is shed that tag of being flat-track bullies and show they can continue to compete with the best, especially with trips to Spurs and Chelsea not far away.

“The signs against City were very promising and the thing about Arsenal is there is a stability about them in terms of their team. Apart from one or two places maybe you can say what their best team is and Arteta is managing that well.

“At the moment, they’ve not had too many injuries to key players and if they can hold that all together there is a great understanding between them all. Everybody knows their individual roles and that has to stand them in good stead as we get into the final stages of the season.”

Arsenal’s clash with Tottenham in the Premier League was postponed due to Covid-19 cases and absent players due to injury and international duty.

The Gunners will host Liverpool FC in the return leg of their League Cup semi-final clash at The Emirates on Thursday night after their goalless draw in the first leg at Anfield last week.

Arsenal’s next Premier League game is a home clash against Burnley at The Emirates on Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Gunners’ negotiations with Juventus over a loan deal for midfielder Arthur Melo have stalled because the Italian side have not yet found a replacement for the Brazilian, according to reports.

The north London side have been linked with a move for the 25-year-old in recent days but Tuttomercatoweb, as quoted by The Daily Express, say that discussions have hit a wall in recent days, casting doubt over a potential deal before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.

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