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Can Arsenal Finish in the Premier League Top Four This Season?

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When Arsenal lost their first three games of the season in the English Premier League, the vultures – aka soccer journalists – were out in force. They were predicting the worst for the club, gleefully condemning them to a relegation battle and a season of misery. 

However, simply saying Arsenal lost the first three games of the season isn’t telling the full story. The team had been affected by a coronavirus outbreak, leaving them short in defense and attack. They also endured two of the toughest fixtures of the season, away to Man City, and at home against London rivals Chelsea. 

Now the tide has changed significantly. At the time of writing, Arsenal are unbeaten in their last six games. They won four of these games, including a dominant 3-1 victory over their arch-rivals Tottenham. While a title challenge is out of the question, optimism is growing among Arsenal fans. Can they finally get back into the league’s top four and become a Champions League club again?

Within touching distance

Right now, Arsenal are tenth in the Premier League. While this doesn’t sound great on the surface, there is a fair amount of congestion between fourth and tenth. In fact, Arsenal are only three points behind West Ham, the current occupiers of the fourth spot at the time of writing. 

Arsenal are also level on points with Man United, Everton, and Leicester City, and those three teams are only above the Gunners due to goal difference. Brighton and Tottenham hold the fifth and sixth spot, respectively, and they are also only above Arsenal by a single point.

OG: This shows Arsenal are right back in contention for a top-four spot. The bookies also agree, with Betway pricing Arsenal as fifth favorites to gain a top-four finish. 

Youthful core growing together

Arsenal currently boasts the youngest starting eleven in the Premier League. Two products from the youth system, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe, have established themselves as regulars in the team – and they’re aged 21 and 22, respectively. 

Their summer signings also reflect Arsenal’s youthful shift. Ben White (24), Martin Odegaard (22), Aaron Ramsdale (23), Takehiro Tomiyasu (22), Albert Sambi Lokonga (22), and Nuno Tavares (21) were brought in, and all have been regular fixtures in the squad. 

This youthful core lacks experience right now, yes, but if they all stick together, they have the potential to grow into a formidable side. 

Experience up top

Even though youth is the focus, the team still has a few experienced names – including Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka – to guide the kids through those unavoidable rough patches. This is reflected most in their strikers, with 32-year-old Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leading the line. The experienced Alexandre Lacazette has also staked his claim as a member of the starting eleven in recent weeks.

With this mix of youth and experience, manager Mikel Arteta’s footballing philosophy becoming more ingrained in the team, and growing confidence around the team, Arsenal have an outside shot of getting into the top four this season. At least, that’s the case if they can avoid injuries to key figures like Aubameyang, Partey, Gabriel, and Smith Rowe.

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