Champions League qualification state of play as Arsenal close Man Utd gap with dramatic late win

Arsenal gave their Champions League hopes a huge boost on Thursday evening as they sealed a dramatic late win against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Hwang Hee-Chan had given Wolves the lead at the Emirates Stadium and the night threatened to be a frustrating one from a Gunners’ perspective.

However, Nicolas Pepe equalised with a well-worked strike before Alexandre Lacazette stepped up in the closing stages – his shot being diverted into his own net by opposition keeper Jose Sa.

The win can certainly not be understated – and not just for its dramatic circumstances – with it being a victory over a direct rival for a European spot come the end of the campaign.

With that being said, takes a look at how things currently stand following what could be a vital three points.

Where do things stand?

Arsenal now sit fifth in the Premier League table on 45 points and are just a solitary point behind Manchester United, who occupy the final Champions League spot.

The Gunners could potentially be set to overtake the Red Devils over the final few months of the campaign. Due to various postponements, Mikel Arteta ’s men have two games in hand and should they win each of them, then that would put them five points clear of United.

Elsewhere, with also one game in-hand on Chelsea, the Gunners also have the opportunity to cut the gap to Thomas Tuchel ’s side to just three points.

Alexandre Lacazette celebrates Arsenal's late winning goal against Wolverhampton Wanderers
Alexandre Lacazette celebrates Arsenal’s late winning goal against Wolverhampton Wanderers

West Ham United are the side directly behind the Gunners from the other perspective and sit three points off the pace – having played two games more.

The Hammers are followed by Wolves and Tottenham Hotspur, who have accumulated 40 and 39 points, respectively, so far throughout the season.

What do Arsenal need to do?

With the Gunners still scheduled to play a further 14 games in the Premier League this season, it is fair to say that there will still be plenty of twists and turns in the race for Champions League football.

As it stands, the only way for the Gunners to guarantee Champions League football for the first time since 2017 is to win all of their remaining games.

It is also hard to say quite when or indeed if Arsenal will rubber-stamp their place in the competition, although it would not be a surprise to see the race go down to the final day of the campaign, with the same having been true for each of the last two seasons – Manchester United and Chelsea the beneficiaries in each of those campaigns.

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

What has Arteta said?

Following victory over Wolves, Arteta has called on his side to retain the attitude that saw them run out winners in dramatic circumstances.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, he said: “It pulled us a little bit closer. One game less and three points.

“14 games to go, and now it’s about Watford. I think it’s about belief, that we should keep playing the way that we are playing – and keep insisting – and have that resilience and that capacity to dominate matches like we are doing right now…and then that’s the energy and [synergy] with our fans to create a special atmosphere.

“Where people don’t want to come and play against Arsenal.”

Source link