Arsenal on brink of Champions League return
- Credit: PA
Arsenal have taken a commanding lead in the race for the Premier League's top four after a 2-1 win over West Ham at London Stadium on Sunday.
After Tottenham cruised to a 3-1 victory over Leicester City in the early kick-off, the pressure was on Arsenal to keep their lead and stay above their North London rivals in the table.
And Mikel Arteta's Gunners responded with a gritty display, despite struggling to find any rhythm on the ball in a scrappy affair, as they found a way to win, playing West Ham at their own game and scoring two set-piece goals to claim a vital three points.
Arsenal boss Arteta praised his side’s resilience after the game, stating: "From my point of view we won ugly and I’m extremely happy to see a team that has this capacity to find a way to win and show the character they showed."
That character has typified the past three games for Arsenal, with Arteta forced into changes and relying on players who had spent most of the season with a bit-part role.
Rob Holding started for the injured Ben White and put in an inspired performance, blocking shot after shot to frustrate the West Ham forwards and also finding the net alongside fellow defender Gabriel.
Mohammed Elneny was solid once again, whilst the returning Takehiro Tomiyasu reminded everyone of his defensive strengths.
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Meanwhile, Nuno Tavares and Eddie Nketiah have each gone from strength to strength in recent weeks, building on every performance as the side continues to grind out results.
It leaves Arsenal sat in fourth place, two points ahead of fierce rivals Tottenham, with four games left to play and in a commanding position to return to the Champions League for next season.
The Gunners face Leeds United on Sunday afternoon, followed by Tottenham and Newcastle away from home, before rounding off the season against Everton at the Emirates.
If Arsenal win their remaining games they will return to Champions League nights at the Emirates.
The power is in their hands and form is on their side, even if the performances have been up and down. The next three weeks are huge for Arteta’s Arsenal.