After a dismal January in which they managed to score just one goal in four matches, February has been a far more positive month for Arsenal.
The Gunners have picked up three Premier League wins from a possible three with a home victory over Brentford being sandwiched between a couple of dramatic triumphs against Wolves.
This seems to have put Mikel Arteta ‘s side in pole position for finishing in the top four places, although the Spaniard is refusing to get too far ahead of himself.
“It pulled us a little bit closer,” he said after Alexandre Lacazette ‘s late deflected strike help secure the points against Wolves on Thursday. “One game less and three points. 13 games to go, and now it’s about Watford.”
The data though has other ideas.
Statistical analysis website FiveThirtyEight now has Arsenal as firm favourites to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
With Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea all clear in the distance, the American predictor has the Gunners with a 61% chance of finishing in the top four.
Tottenham, meanwhile are next most likely at 19% with Manchester United having a 17% chance, West Ham 5% and Wolves just 1% after all four dropped important points this month.
With that in mind here football.london takes a look at the fixtures of all five teams vying for the final top four spot in March ahead of what promises to be a crucial month.
Starting with the Gunners, Mikel Arteta’s side again see their matches relatively spread out in March as a consequence of not being in any cup competitions.
They begin with a trip to Watford before facing three matches in six days against Leicester, Liverpool and Aston Villa that will surely test their thin squad to the limit.
Watford (A) – Sunday, March 6th, 14:00
Leicester (H) – Sunday, March 13th, 16:30
Liverpool (H) – Wednesday, March 16th, 20:15
Aston Villa (A) – Saturday, March 19th, 12:30
Bruno Lage’s side have had a tricky few days in the capital with back-to-back defeats against Arsenal and West Ham that may have ruled them out of the top four race.
However, with a relatively kind run of fixtures against three of the Premier League bottom five and so many teams still involved Wolves will hope they can put themselves back in with a shout in March.
Crystal Palace (H) – Saturday, March 5th, 15:00
Watford (H) – Thursday, March 10th, 19:30
Everton (A) – Sunday, March 13th, 14:00
Leeds (H) – Friday, March 18th, 20:00
Unlike Arsenal, Wolves and Manchester United West Ham are still in the FA Cup so will be playing a midweek fifth round tie before resuming their top four push.
The Hammers also have a mouthwatering Europa League Round of 16 double header against Sevilla to contend with on top of a tricky run of Premier League fixtures that could push their thin squad to the limit.
Southampton (A) – Wednesday, March 2nd, 19:30 (FA Cup)
Liverpool (A) – Saturday, March 5th, 17:30
Sevilla (A) – Thursday, March 10th, 17:45 (Europa League)
Aston Villa (H) – Sunday, March 13th, 14:00
Sevilla (H) – Thursday, March 17th, 20:00 (Europa League)
Tottenham (A) – Sunday, March 20th, 14:00
Like West Ham, Manchester United still have a European campaign to contend with in the month of March as they host Atletico Madrid in a Champions League round of 16 tie which is far from over.
That is on top of by far the trickiest run of Premier League fixtures of any of the teams on this list in which they play both title contenders away from home as well as top four rivals Tottenham at Old Trafford.
Manchester City (A) – Sunday, March 6th, 16:30
Tottenham (H) – Saturday, March 12th, 17:30
Atletico Madrid (H) – Tuesday, March 15th, 20:00
Liverpool (A) – Sunday, March 20th, 20:00
Who are the teams you love to hate? Which teams do you have a soft spot for? Take part in our League of Love & Hate survey
Statistically Arsenal’s biggest contender, Spurs had a February to forget on the whole, losing three out of five Premier League matches prompting Antonio Conte to suggest that he may be willing to walk away from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The Italian remains though and will be hopeful of getting the top four push back on track, while progressing to the next round of the FA Cup when they take on Folarin Balogun ‘s Middlesbrough.
Middlesbrough (A) – Tuesday, 1st March, 19:55 (FA Cup)
Everton (H) – Monday, 7th March, 20:00
Manchester United (A) – Saturday, March 12th, 17:30
Brighton (A) – Wednesday, March 16th, 19:30
West Ham (H) – Sunday, March 20th, 14:00